The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
He remembers having his own room in the house that is now gone. For a time, there wasn’t enough money and his room was let out. It was also during this time that he remembers kissing g Lettie Hempstock. She was older, eleven, and he was only seven.
There had been several boarders. The worst one for a while was an opal miner who brought death with him and also something more. The opal miner’s actions set a strange series of events into play. It was during this time that he met the Hempstocks. There were three of them, the grandmother, the mother, and Lettie. They had always been there.
Lettie took him to a strange place and told him to hold onto her hand. She showed him her ocean, which looked like a plain old farm pond. Oceans could be whatever size they needed to be. It was during.g this strange trip that he brought something back with him. One thing was a cat he pulled right out of the ground, another was a strange thing in his foot.
He tried to get rid of the strange thing, but it came back in a form his parents were pleased with. It said the right words and sought to keep him locked away, or dead. The boy got away from it one night and it was Lettie and her family who helped him get rid of it and the things that came after it.
Memories are a strange thing though and events seem to be different depending on who remembers them.
What I liked
Neil, of course, is his wonderful whimsical and mysterious self having written this book. With Neil, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get, but it’s always going to walk the border of reality and a great, mysterious could-be magical or supernatural world right under our noses.
I really like the idea of something old and powerful, unexplained by our laws of science, or even religion, existing right along beside us, in our modern-day world. I think it would make the world a much more interesting place, if it were true.
Sometimes weird stuff does happen in our lives. Is it better to say that we don’t have an answer for the weird things, or should we entertain the idea that something did cause it to happen; it’s just not something our world can explain?
The boy’s family is normal, or so it seems, and as a normal family the explain away all the weirdness with worldly and logical answers, even if those answers are less likely than an answer that involves a strange, unseen world.
I think we should all be able to have whimsy in our lives. I think we should all be able to suggest that perhaps our answers are not the readily explainable kind.
What I didn’t like
This book was pretty great.
That pond could be an ocean.
In your life, has there ever been a time when an off-the-wall, even supernatural answer, was the more likely answer over the answer that people have you?
Are you the kind of person who could accept a strange world existing in your modern world, or would you sent its existence to the last breath?