The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
(William Morrow, 2013, 192 pages)
It was funny when Sadie submitted her review for this same book a few weeks ago because I had just recently brought it home from the library (ahh, great minds). I think she had a greater appreciation for the book than I did, but it was certainly a unique read.
Our unnamed narrator has returned to his hometown after coming in for a funeral. He finds himself at the Hempstock farm, a place just down the lane from his childhood home where the Hempstock women lived. His close friend, Lettie, played a very significant role in his life as a child. In addition to being his friend, she was his protector in a way.
Around the back of the Hempstock household there is a path that leads to a small duck pond, but Lettie always referred to this pond as her ocean. The narrator sits here and is suddenly transported to his youth and all the things he went through with Lettie. It’s as if he’d forgotten all of it and it only came rushing back now that he is here in this safe place that will always remind him of this young girl from his past.
A key event in his memory that ended up serving as the catalyst for Lettie and the narrator’s friendship was the suicide of a boarder who had been staying in the narrator’s house. This set off a chain of events, forever linking the two friends.
I think I expected more from this book so it ended up being a bit of a letdown for me. I also feel like, despite this being marketed as an adult book, it would certainly be accessible to young adults. A quick read, but not what I expected.