Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
by Neil Gaiman

Why did you choose this book? This was a book club selection
When did you read this book? February 2015
Who should read this book? readers who enjoyed fantasy
Source: library ebook
Here is a synopsis of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane from Goodreads

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Laneis told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

My Review

I like the cover on this book and had wanted to read it when it first came out. So I was very happy when my book club made it a selection for 2015! The book got quite a bit of hype when it came out, and gets very good ratings overall. It was even the winner in the ‘Fantasy’ category for the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards. So I was a little surprised by how low this book rated with me.

I’m not sure what it is that I didn’t like about the book, but I just didn’t like it. I was never able to feel a connection to the main character, a nameless boy of about 7. I really couldn’t connect to any other character either, though I did like Lettie, the girl at the end of the lane who befriends nameless boy. I didn’t like the way her story was left hanging, though. Really, I’m not sure what I just read. At our book club, the point was made that this is supposed to be an elegiac fable, meaning it is a sorrowful tale with a moral, or lesson, to be learned. If that was the case, the lesson flew right over my head, along with Ursala Monkton (the evil being in the story), because I don’t feel like I learned anything from this!

I enjoy fantasy. Give me a fairy tale like Peter Pan or Cinderella and I’ll love it. I also love Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books! But there is a certain type fantasy I don’t enjoy, and while I’m not sure how to classify it, this book falls into that nameless category. Another book that falls into the same nameless category, which I also read for book club and did not enjoy, is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs. But at least that one had some interesting pictures!

There are discussion questions at the end of the book, if your book club chooses to read this one. You can also see Neil Gaiman answer questions a book club might ask him in the video below

My Rating:  ★1/2      1-1/2 Stars
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