Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman

This book was chosen based of a recommendation from a friend that is as much (if not more) of an avid reader as I am.  I got this book from the library and started reading it without knowing a single thing about it.
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Summary:  A young boy (and now that I think about it....he is nameless) and his father find their stolen car at the bottom of a hill a mile from their house.  Sprawled across the backseat is the body of their boarder, dead from asphyxiation.  This gruesome discovery triggers an extraordinary chain events commencing with the appearance of Lettie Hempstock and ending with a terrible evil that must be banished.

What I Liked:  I'm finding it hard to put this story and my feelings toward it into words.  It's almost like it was more of an experience that a story, and one that I think is probably very personal to each reader.  So lets start with the basics:  "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" was quickly paced, extremely well written and had a rich plot that was both beautiful, enchanting and at times terrifying.

The story was told from the point of view of a 7-year-old boy, and while the main character's reactions were appropriate for a young boy, I found that the author used language that put me in the place of the main character and solicited adult reactions.  The story completely sucked me in and I found myself reacting to situations instinctively as the narrator experienced them

I also enjoyed that outside of the narrator all the main characters were women.  And these aren't run of the mill women...they were powerful, strong and moved the plot along.

What Drove Me Nuts:  There were moments in this book that made me uncomfortable, and I'm not a fan of being uncomfortable.  While I understand and appreciate a great books' ability to take the reader through multiple emotions, I was really disturbed by the bathroom incident towards the middle of the book.  I was further disturbed when the narrator accuses the antagonist of forcing his father to do something, and the antagonist replied "I don't force anyone to do anything."  It was mentioned multiple times that the antagonist was trying to give people what they want, so that response haunted me a bit.  Could a parent really want that for their child?  There were also several moments where I felt something like fear...but I'm a chicken so the average reader might not notice.

Rating:  To be honest, I'm still working through how I feel about this book.  I enjoyed it, but parts of it were unsettling enough that I don't know if I'll read it again.  Could be hormones.  Could just be my reaction.  I do, however, think you should check this book out.

Also Ready by this Author:  Nothing, but I'm curious to read more.

Reviewed By:  Tami

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