Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman was published in 2013 and is classic Gaiman storytelling with all the suspense and creepiness of Coraline.

Gaiman brings his magic to life once again in this fairy tale for adults. Here is the blurb from "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.

"Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what."

Gaiman has the ability to make the man remember what it is like to not only be a seven year-old boy, but to become that child once again. One reason his stories have so much creep factor is that he makes the characters come alive and makes the story almost too real. I could feel the young boy's anxiety, his fear, and his struggle to make sense of the things that didn't make sense.

I listened to the audio version that was performed by Neil Gaiman, and it made the book even better. He has a rich voice and the story seemed to become a movie as I listened. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We are in need of Spanish books at this time, especially board books. We can always use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I will make a book plate with their name for the book you donate. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

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