Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Neil Gaiman's THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

Yes, it's been a while since I've posted a review. I'm overcome with a sense of ennui about reading lately. I've started a book, put it down, picked up another, put it down. Nothing lately has has lit that book-passion fire in me. Did this one?

First the synopsis:
When a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home in Sussex, England, for a funeral he remembers frightening childhood memories relating to the neighbor girl who promised to protect him from the darkness unleashed by a suicide at the pond at the end of their street.


My opinion will be contrary to how most people feel about this books, but here goes. I almost put this one down too about three-quarters in. I am glad I pushed to the end, because it had a fulfilling conclusion. However, the reason I almost put it down is because I remembered why I prefer young adult books over children's or adult books. Yes, this book says it's for adults, but frankly, I would argue that it's a children's adventure book with a dash of adult thrown in. I suppose one could argue that the tone makes it more adult. And frankly, the tone is what made it a bit dull for me. The narrator was a little too nonchalant about the whole thing.

But I should tell you about some of the things I loved about the book. The writing was lovely. The characters were fascinating. These three mysterious women, who help our main character fight off a mythical monster, are strong, interesting women. I wanted to know more about them and the youngest daughter, Lettie. The mood and tone are very Gaiman-ish. Well, at least they feel that way to me after having read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. So, if you like that, you'll eat this one up. Many, many people loved this book. I, on the other hand, liked it.

Back to the question of whether or not this book lit a fire of passion in me. Not so much. The tone kept me a little detached from the main character and I didn't always care about him. Yes, there were moments when I felt for his safety, but still. It's an interesting combination of children's adventure/detached adult book. The mash-up didn't work for me. Although, the author's uniqueness is a reason so many others love his books. So maybe it's just me.