Review for The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 

The best way I can describe this book is that it is like a bad dream. You are conscious of the events taking place but you don’t really know how or why it is happening. The only way to wake up is to stop reading. After that you are left with the distinct feeling of morose as you move about your daily events knowing that something unpleasant kept you up last night, and it will be waiting for you when you get back home. I use this definition to explain the basic synopsis of the book as well as how I felt while reading it.

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This book most certainly contains Gaiman’s ease for magical realism and acute darkness, but it is a loosely tied book where the events that take place feel muddled at best. This of course has to with the fact that for the majority of the story, our protagonist is seven years old and is having difficulties understanding the grown-up world that he has collided into. But it is also due to the audience’s lack of understanding of the incredible magic that moves within the word, in which the same moon in different phases exists at the same time and where an ocean the size of a small pond contains all the secrets of the universe, without our ever realizing it. Like our young protagonist, we are left out of the loop; at the mercy of fate and a handful of characters created by one unexplainable author. The reader can do nothing but keep moving forward. It is a story of letting go as much for the characters as for the audience. All I can say is be prepared to have questions at the end of the book that you must be content with never knowing the answers to.

Despite its short length, this story holds an extreme power that is at best, incomprehensible. You feel as if the meaning of all reality lies deep within its pages, so deep that you would need to walk the ocean’s floor in order to reach it.

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