The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is one of the weirdest books I have ever read. I am fairly new to Neil Gaiman and his style of writing, but it took me a while to get used to it. In this novel, I loved the way he wields his words, but he lost me a bit with the plot. Sure, some sections are beautifully written, but the overall verdict from me was disappointment.
As an avid Goodreads user, it was interesting to see so many good reviews of this book. In fact, the 4 out of 5 star average rating from nearly 300 000 reviews was what prompted me to buy two copies, with one intended to be a gift.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead…
Even at the beginning of the novel, the story never really grabbed me. Sometimes, I pick up a book and I just can’t put it down. This was not one of those books. In fact, by the end, I was looking forward to putting it down so I could move onto some more interesting reading material.
Basically, it starts with a middle aged man, who visits a farmhouse near where he grew up. He has little recollection of the events that occurred during his childhood but as soon as he sees the small pond in the backyard of the farm the memories all come pouring back to him. Hence, the storyline is basically a recollection of his memories as a child.
I read a review on Goodreads which said that it was a: “beautiful example of childhood adventures.” I couldn’t disagree more. For one, the girl whom the main character befriends is not even a human as such. And furthermore, their adventures are basically splitting up a love affair between the protagonist’s dad and a demon babysitter.
Overall, this story did not impress me, but the writing did. I have no doubt that Neil Gaiman is a talented author, but he lost me here. Even though I bought two copies, I would not give this book as a gift to anyone unless I wanted to see our relationship crash and burn.
Please, let me know what you think!
Edit: I’ve since found out that Tom Hanks is leading a film adaption of this book.