Read It: The Ocean At The End of The Lane

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The Ocean At The End of The Lane

Neil Gaiman

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.” 

This is the first book written by Neil Gaiman that I have read.

The story is about a man revisiting his old home to attend a funeral. He then turns to the Hempstock Farm toward the end of the lane to revisit his childhood friend, Lettie Hempstock, who has claimed to have an ocean in their farm property (which is actually a pond). He then reminisces about past events in his childhood that he has forgotten all about.

  1. The protagonist (since his name wasn’t really given), is a very ordinary lead character – loves books (nerdy), no friends from school, has older sister who utterly disagrees with everything he’s doing, weak. The usual weakling we’re all used to. There is nothing really special about him. Just a typical boy going about his typical growing years.
  2. It all started with the suicide of the opal miner who stole his father’s car and committed suicide in the backseat. After that, strange things has been happening. He woke up choking on a coin and his sister accusing him of throwing coins at her and her friends.
  3. Lettie Hempstock is an interesting character. She is an eleven year old girl who befriends the boy since the incident with the stolen car/suicide and helps him with facing up whatever it was that’s causing the disturbances. Her character (as well as her mother’s, Ginnie and gran’s characters) hold as much mystery until the very end of the novel. They seem to know a lot about the things happening throughout the story but then reveals too little or none at all for the readers. Like the boy, you acquire more things to ask along the way but get very little answers.
  4. Ursula Monkton, a new female boarder in the boy’s home is like Nanny McPhee gone totally bad. She has this sweet and caring character when the adults are around but then is very strict when it comes to the boy. She puts the boy into so much trouble in his relationship with his father. After everything, she is then revealed to be the thing/spirit that was giving people money because she believed that is all what people ever wanted and she is trying to make them happy.
  5. The plot is okay but not entirely something I would totally rave about. I liked the days when Ursula was mean to him. I was thinking of ways how he might overcome his fear of the hag but was disappointed because Lettie did all the fun stuff and actually didn’t even so much bothered to answer his significant questions. Boo.

Overall, the story is a reflection of one’s childhood. As a child you experience things that are entirely new to you. You have a lot of questions about life and the mysteries behind it but you don’t always get to hear about the real thing from adults. Your questions about life in general are sometimes answered in riddles or make-believe stories which you then perceive as true. It is when you grow up, you learn some of the answers but then you’re still not entirely sure of yourself.

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About Elaine

interior designer | occasional bookworm | closet otaku | music lover | frustrated craftsman | lazy artist | part time bum
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3 Responses to Read It: The Ocean At The End of The Lane

  1. Anastasia says:

    Haha oh I love Gaimans books. Though I think if The Ocean At The End of The Lane is your first Gaiman book, it’s maybe a bit weird. Neverwhere, Coraline, Stardust would be some books I’d recommend 🙂

    • Elaine says:

      Hi Anastasia! Thanks for the recommendations. I’d gladly list those on my TBR. I still haven’t read new Gaiman books but I watched the movie adaptation of Stardust which I think is good. 🙂

  2. Jenn Besonia says:

    I’m glad you started reading Gaiman books! I love The Ocean at the End of the Lane too. I evern wrote something about it and Neil Gaiman retweeted the link to it. I was so happy haha. I hope you can read more Gaiman books. They’re brilliant.

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