Fancypants42’s #CBRV Review #20: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

ImageThe Ocean at the End of the Lane is not Neil Gaiman’s most epic novel. It’s not very long, in fact. I read most of it in one afternoon. I had the impression while reading it, however, that it was his truest. Not in the sense that it is nonfiction, but in a way I can hardly explain. It felt real. Everything that happened, no matter how fantastic, all of it felt one hundred percent real. Thus is the magic of his storytelling.

Neil’s writing has a poetry to it, an almost whimsical solemnity of words that dance so beautifully on the page together. I think he’s rather outdone even himself this time. This is the story of a little boy who finds himself in the most unbelievable of circumstances, fighting for his life, maybe even his soul. His new friend Lettie introduces him to magic and danger and a pond that’s really an ocean and so many things besides. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but you really must read this book. It doesn’t take long, I promise. But it does change things.

If you weren’t already a fan of Neil’s work, you will be after reading this. If you didn’t already believe in magic, you will do that too. Neil posted a link on his blog to his favorite review of the book that talked about not the plot, but how the critic felt while reading the book. I couldn’t understand really what that meant until I read it myself, until I felt the book myself.

This is not my favorite book that I’ve ever read. It didn’t destroy my soul or give me a sense of elation. I loved it though. I really did. In some small piece of my heart, I got to spend an afternoon in this other world where there are wonderful things and terrifying things all at once. It was an afternoon well spent and I’d love to visit it again. Just looking at the cover after I’ve finished it gives me a sense of belonging in some way. This book and I belong together, not in the way of true love or passion, but in the quiet way of best friends or soul mates who can never quite do without one another but are much more subtle about it.

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