Rated Reads

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

by Neil Gaiman

Rated: Mild

Childhood memories are tricky things. Especially when, with time and distance, the events seem less than real. So, what happens when one is faced with a memory — something do Dark and Sinister — that is unbelievable?

An unnamed man returns to his childhood home in Sussex, England, and is drawn to the house at the end of the lane, or, more particularly, the pond. That’s when he begins to remember: a suicide, and Letty Hempstock taking him Beyond and the Events that Followed.

I know I’m being vague, but that’s on purpose. Much of the charm of this fairy tale — and it is a fairy tale — is watching the events unfold through the child’s eyes. It has all the traditional fairy tale elements: an Evil that needs to be Vanquished; a good witch to help our unwitting hero do just that. I’m not a true fan or expert on Gaiman, but I don’t think he’s written something this straightforwardly charming since Stardust. And, in spite of the Dark and the Foreboding, it is a sweet, simple, charming story.

My co-worker mentioned she felt as if something was missing when she finished, but I disagree: it’s just right the way it is. Not complex, not elaborate, but eloquent in its sparseness. And I admire that.

Rated: Mild for some scary thematic elements and mild language.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • by Neil Gaiman
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: