Monday, March 2, 2015

Bookish Adventures: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

It's been a while since I've done a book review here- a long while.  But I finally have time to read again, and although I'm not shooting for one book a month like I was way back in 2013, I do figure I can share my thoughts on what I read here, from time to time.

*personal photo*
I had never read any of Neil Gaiman's work.  I've seen Coraline and I've seen Stardust and I've obviously seen the episodes he's written for Doctor Who, but I've never taken the time to sit down and read any of his books.

I don't know how he knew- I didn't specifically mention Neil Gaiman as an author I'm interested in- but Mr Geek got this for me for Christmas when I had been dying to read it for some time now.  When he asked me what sorts of books I might like, I mentioned the series I had started but not finished- Divergent and The Mortal Instruments, to be specific.  But I think he secretly wants to pull me out of the rabbit hole that is YA literature I've fallen into since graduating college- or at least out of the more cliched bits of YA because, as someone famous once said, it seems we use the term "young adult fiction" to describe books that we actually enjoy reading.  But somehow Mr Geek knew that this was the sort of book that would satisfy my taste for sci-fi/fantasy and coming-of-age stories without being too terribly juvenile, and boy was he right.

This book is beautiful.  It's a little scary, in the way that Coraline is a little scary, and it's a little convoluted at times, in the way that Doctor Who is convoluted at times, but mostly it's just beautiful.  It's interesting- now that I'm a mother, I find it very difficult to read stories or watch movies where children are left on their own to get into dangerous situations.  Even though the stories would never get interesting if these children were not left to go on adventures, I can't help but sit there and wonder, "Where is his mother through all of this?!"  And it's equally heart-wrenching for me to read about children who feel neglected or unloved or alone- it makes me want to go grab Chief out of her crib and hold her tight and never let her go (because obviously I only have time to read when she's asleep).  But, of course, our protagonist would never learn anything about the world or about himself if he were not allowed to encounter danger, and he would never have the opportunity to be so very, very brave if he started out the story feeling secure and loved and whole, so eventually I am able to forget my annoyance with his parents- or at least push it to the side- and become engrossed in his adventures.

I think my favorite part of this book is the way the details unfold slowly- Gaiman only gives you information when you strictly need it, not all at once, and the boy's name is never actually revealed, he's just "I" and "me" the whole time, so that you can perfectly inject yourself into his brain and see the world through his eyes.  It is not readily apparent from the novel's opening that anything particularly fantastic is about to happen, although the title leads one to believe that there is at least a bit of whimsy in store.

I really don't want to spoil anything for you if you have not read it- least of all delicately unfolding plot or the truths about life that it reveals- so the only other thing I will say is that reading this book has confirmed for me that I need to go out, right now, and acquire every piece of fiction Neil Gaiman has ever penned and then try to control my appetite so that I don't gobble it up too quickly.

Have you read this beautiful book?  What did you think?  What have you read lately?

Much love,
The Geeks


  1. You might like the Audio Book as well. Neil Gaiman reads it himself, and does a beautiful job. I've loved everything I've read by him.

    1. I'm not normally an audio book person but I do enjoy hearing an author read his own work. And I'm definitely going to gobble up the rest of Gaiman's books!