Living within the Pages -Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”


A good book can have me hooked by page twenty, great ones get me on page one, but a brilliant book is one that makes me want to live within the pages. That’s all I can say about Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.”

I think in order for one to fully appreciate this book for all that it is worth, you must be a mature adult. One that is not ashamed or afraid to look back on his or her childhood and say “I miss some things.” I think that’s what made me enjoy this one in nearly one sitting. It brought back those thoughts of a time when life was once simple… It’s not a long book by any means, but not a short one as well… It’s just one of those stories where you turn the last page and realize – “I won’t find another one this good for sometime.”

Full of beauty, love, and indeed pure sadness. The story revolves around a middle-aged man, visiting his hometown for a funeral, recalling a time from when he is seven years old. The memories flood back as he sits reminiscing at the edge of a small pond on the farm of his childhood friend Lettie Hempstock. The memories begin innocent enough, of the man as a quiet boy who preferred to spend his time reading by himself, but turn much darker and sinister as the boy is introduced to death by an Opal Miner who is boarding with his family in Sussex England. This leads to the boy meeting Lettie Hemptsock, and learning that she is not simply a little girl growing up on a farm down the lane.

I highly recommend this little book. I only wish I could take the time to create a list of all the quotes that made me pause, back up, and re-read the line just to enjoy the beauty of a master story-teller. To sum it up you’ll find some of my favorites below…

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”

“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”

“I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.”

“I liked myths.  They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories.  They were better than that.  They just were.”

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