I’ve been waiting to read this book for 2 months and finally I bought this book yesterday. It’s hard to get the hardcover one, I couldn’t find one in Jakarta so I ended up buying the paperback. When I first bought it, I didn’t really know what this book is all about. I knew that Neil is an amazing writer because I’ve read his books and fantasy is the genre he specialized in so I was pretty sure that this book would be a good read.
The story begins when the main character returns to his childhood home for a funeral. He walks through the path he used to walk and ends up in a house at the end of the lane. He knocks the door and an old lady shows up who turns out to be old Mrs. Hempstock. He remembers that she used to give him milk and when this old lady asks him, “Are you here to see Lettie?”, he remembers about Lettie, the girl who’s older than him and her “pond” or to be exact, Lettie Hempstock’s ocean. All those childhood memories suddenly return to him, the good, the bad, and magical things that had happened to him when he was a little, all of them came back.
What amazed me about this book is the way Neil described things. It felt so real, I even flinched at some parts because I could feel the pain and the horror. I felt like I was watching a movie not reading a book. Neil Gaiman did a great job on the nameless main character, I can feel a strong connection with the narrator. To be honest, I feel like The Ocean at the End of the Lane is more like young adult novel than adult novel, it reminds me of The Graveyard Book. Overall, if you want a quick read about fantasy, magical things, yet realistic and deep, this book would be perfect for you.
Some of my favourite quotes from The Ocean at the End of the Lane :
“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”
“How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow.”
“Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”
“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths.”
“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.”
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”