‘I remember my own childhood vividly… I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew. It would scare them.’
This quote from the first page sums the book up perfectly.
From hearing a lot of good things about Gaiman I was slightly disappointing with Neverwhere, the only other of his books I’ve read, but I think this one really blew it out of the water (or should I say the ocean?) cough cough….
Gaiman’s imagination is just fantastic. His ability to conjure images of childhood, with all their questions, hopes and fears, is something I’ve rarely come across. Really getting into this book is like being put back in the mind of a 7 year old, from the feeling of helplessness at the hands of adults, to the fantastic sense of wonderment that is nigh on impossible to achieve in adult life.
The one criticism I’d probably have is that, as others have mentioned, this is not really adult book, yet it’s not really a kids book either. From my slightly cynical adults perspective it could have been a bit darker, although the dream sequence at the beginning was definitely slightly haunting. I’m sure if I’d read this as a kid it would have terrified me, and I suppose that’s what Gaiman was aiming for.
I think there’s definitely something about Gaiman as an author that intrigues me, but I’m still yet to decide how highly I rate him overall. Will definitely be interested in reading American Gods at some point soon and see if that makes up my mind.
But overall I’d highly recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane, especially to anyone who enjoys magical realism/fantasy, or maybe just to those who want to have a brief trip back to childhood.