A middle-aged man returns to his home in England for a funeral. While he is there he is drawn towards his childhood home, and ultimately to the ramshackle and sprawling farm on the ocean at the end of the lane. As he sits on the shore he remembers the events of his childhood. It was there, during the summer of his seventh year, where horrible and magical and wonderful events occurred. It started with the suicide of a man that led him to Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and her grandmother at this very farm. During the horrifically terrifying events that followed, the calming and magical Lettie promises to protect him.
The main character’s love affair with books – their ability to calm him and transport him and protect him definitely struck a chord with me who spent much of my childhood (ok – and adulthood too!) with my head stuck in a book.
“Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.”
I loved this book – the characters, the events, the story, the prose. The ending was fantastic, heartbreaking, and necessary. It is an adult fairy tale, and one that I will read again and again.
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
Title: Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication: William Morrow, June 2013