Thursday, August 8, 2013


Childhood Memories

   THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE opens its pages to George, a middle-aged man trying to escape the doldrums of a funeral. He found himself driving through the places of his youth long gone, and then instinct led him to the Hempstock Farm, that huge farm at the end of the lane. There, he started remembering memories from his childhood -buried and forgotten.  A childhood touched by strangeness and terror, but also by love and redemption.
“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”
It is no secret that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors.  He understands fairytales in a way no other author had keenly defined the relationship between his characters and readers through its horrors.  He can make his stories felt real; it was fantasy and yet the reader can feel that it happened, or verily wish it will.  Gaiman never departs from the fairytale design; he always starts with a protagonist faced with a strange force that has the power to overturn his life into chaos and loss.  There will be difficult challenges, a call for courage, and by the end of the story, there will be redemption.  The journey through the story is a kaleidoscope of images, worth taking, and wonderful.  And, he insists that every ending is a “happily ever after” but only if we make it so.
 “Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood.”
There was one terrifying question in the story: “How can you be happy in this world?”  We adults often look at life challenges like viewing a vast ocean, when sometimes it will only take a bucketful of water to understand it.
"I saw the world I had walked since my birth, and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger."
The book was narrated in an adult’s voice, but it will drive the readers to connect with the child they tried so hard to hide within them.  THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is an example of Neil Gaiman’s genius.  The temptation to spoil the story is so strong whenever I talk about this book.  Once I start, I don’t want to stop telling people why they should read it.  And if it wasn't enough, I urge them to listen to it too.
“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, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”

Book Details:
Title: The Ocean a the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating:  ★★★★★


F2F25, January 2014, The Appraisery
Moderated by Tina
Photo courtesy of Joy Abundo


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