My Little Pocketbooks: Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane   

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy  
Publisher: Harper Audio
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Audiobook:  5 hours and 48 minutes
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Source: Free from e-Library
http://amzn.to/1EKp96Y

Book Description

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 Lane is 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.

Review

This book was a complete random audiobook selection for me.  Originally, I picked it because it was a short (under 6 hours) audiobook that many bloggers have read and reviewed.  Then I realized it would fit perfectly into one of my reading challenges this year.
When a grown man comes back to his childhood hometown for a funeral, he takes a stroll down to the end of the road where he encounters a long forgotten childhood friend and a flood of memories.  Memories of his childhood were not the normal memories a child should have but of good witches and a soul stealing witch masked as a nanny.   
This book has the feeling of a Grim Fairy tail but more for an adult since the nanny and daddy make out in the living room while mommy is at work.  That screams adult book all over.
I had no idea what to except at all.  I thought the book was going one way and then there was a twist and then a turn came along.  There were so many moments in this book I kept thinking "What?  Are you serious?  No way!"  But towards the end (maybe it was me but) I missed the "WHY?" this is all happening to the little boy our protagonist.  Why him?  Why not his sister?  I need that part of the story to make it feel complete and I just didn't get it.
As for the author narrating the audiobook...well you know I am not a fan of it at all.  I think the author has a great voice but not for reading this audiobook.  It would have been a lot better for me if there was a cast reading the various characters or a male actor who can do great female voices as well.  Someone who reads a bit faster and with a boyish voice would have been my pick. 
I am just so-so with this book.  The overall story was great but the "why this is happening" and the narrator of the audiobook make a just ok read!         

Reviews by Other Bloggers

Recommendations

I recommend this book to teens and older due to some mild violence.

Challenges

This book is number 16 in my New to Me Author Reading Challenge
This book is number 13 in my Audiobook Reading Challenge
This book is number 25 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge
This book is number 3 in What's in A Name? Reading Challenge

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