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“Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.”
Another first-person perspective book, and it is quite short. Short, but jam-packed full of amazing. I wish it could have kept going, but this was a book that wasn’t even supposed to last as long as it did, but obviously a novella evolved into a novel before Gaiman realized it. Not straying from the synopsis, a man returns to his hometown, only to return to the farm of a girl he once knew. Memories previously suppressed come flooding back about a childhood friend.
His memories are of the impossible, but were they really that impossible? Not at all, because Lettie, his childhood friend, is a Hempstock and their family is/are far more than they appear. [The Hempstock family appears in some of Gaiman’s other books as well]
He’s taken over by this memory as he sits near a simple farm pond, which was Lettie’s ‘ocean.’ An ocean with power that can’t be fathomed by man. The story is written so well, in such a fluid motion – that the memories that the main character experiences seem so twisted and horrible experiences are so believable, I felt my heart racing at certain moments. Some of the scenes were quite intense.
This book covers so much, but it’s truly about sacrifice, boundaries, and memories. Also the true differences between yourself as a child, and yourself as an adult.
Even though I read this book in an hour or two, I’ve still been thinking about it ever since. It makes me think of starlight and floating through water, weightless.
I give The Ocean at the End of the Lane 5/5 Leeches
“How old are you, really?” I asked.
I thought for a bit. Then I asked, “How long have you been eleven for?”
She smiled at me.