Author: Neil Gaiman
Review: I have recently got to hear Neil Gaiman read an excerpt from the first chapter of The Ocean at the End of the Lane; he has a great reading voice and after that I couldn't wait to read the whole novel. At under 200 pages, it didn't take long to finish and I rather wish it had lasted.
The main protagonist of the book is a 7-year old boy who is happier reading books than playing with other children and whose life gets a lot more strange after meeting Lettie Hempstock, an 11-year old who lives down the lane and who shows him her ocean.
The novel is a combination of a children's book plot where the evil is fought and vanquished and a more subtle narrative about childhood, perception, and friendship. I enjoyed immersing myself into the descriptive language and the quirkiness of the novel. Everyone is not quite who they seem, and I love the dialog:
"How old are you, really?" I asked.I generally have found myself enjoying Gaiman's "children" books more than the adult ones. And this one is probably one of my favorites on par with The Graveyard Book. There are a few bits in the book that make it a questionable choice for children, but in general I think readers of all ages could and should enjoy it.
I thought for a bit. Then I asked, "How long have you been eleven for?"
She smiled at me.