I recently finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I loved every bit of it. Neil Gaiman is quickly becoming my favorite author. The narrator had a great voice that was childlike and adult at the same time. The storytelling reminded me of a modern George MacDonald. And is a great read for someone who likes Coraline.
Every description of the food created by the Hempstocks made me hungry. I love cottage food and the food they made for him had me salivating.
“She gave me a china bowl filled with warm porridge from the stovetop, with a lump of homemade blackberry jam, my favorite, in the middle of the porridge, then she poured cream on it” (26).
The insights on childhood, not to mention adulthood, were inspiring.
“Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and they can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing things” (68 -69).
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath the rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive” ( 77).
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and the always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world” (155).
Not to mention thought-provoking wisdom from the Hempstocks.
“Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody” (154).
The next quote is a spoiler, so don’t highlight it unless you don’t mind a little spoiling.
“A flash of resentment. It’s hard enough being alive, trying to survive in the world and find your places in it, to do the things you need to do to get by, without wondering if the thing you just did, whatever it was, was worth someone having … if not died, then having given up her life. It wasn’t fair” (231).
One of my favorites.
“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”
Then there was Neil Gaiman’s description of how he wrote the book. Some inspiring words for a writer.
“In Sarasota, Florida, Stephen King reminded me of the joy of just writing every day. Words save our lives, sometimes.”
Something to remember.