Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Whenever I begin reading a book by Neil Gaiman, I always think I know where I'm going. Then I read the second paragraph and I realize how fundamentally, overwhelmingly wrong I am.

You may think Ocean at the End of the Lane is a book about what a seven-year-old boy experienced one summer. You may be right — a little. It's so, so much more.

It was a riveting tale. Gorgeous prose, incredible storytelling, a flawless narrator and a tale that takes you places you never expected. Plus, kittens are involved: not always in a good way, but always as they must be.

The young boy who is narrating the story is all of seven years old, and it hasn't been all that smooth – especially his seventh summerl. His own little room was being occupied by lodgers, and he had to share a room with his sister. His seventh birthday party was abysmal, but a quiet boy can endure much. Until the opal miner shows up and ruins everything. And that's when he meets the Hempstock women.

The narrator is both a child and adult, a man returning to his childhood and a child looking into his future. He captures the true magic and terrors of childhood, the helplessness and strength, the trust and betrayal, the confusion and clarity. His voice is unwavering and true, and completely believable.

Read this modest yet ample novel now, then buy a second copy to give to the friend you know will love it. (You won't want to loan your copy. You will be too busy re-reading it.)