The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Uh??? So not what I was expecting 35


Inconsistent characterization?

3.0 stars

About the Book

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

[Public Library Audio Book]
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.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

Review

Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting at all!

I had never read Neil Gaiman and since I have been into Magical Realism lately, I went for his most popular book which is this one.

I guess it’s safe to say I’m not into books where characters behaved irrationally, especially toward children.

If I’m reading a Horror, Mystery/Thriller, or crime book that is about child abuse, I expect the characters to be cruel and abusive. I have read a few, especially memoirs like A Stolen Life: A Memoir and Living Dead Girl, where children are horribly abused and I was OK with the content. I loved these books, actually. But when the family of a little 7-year treats him like is crap but it’s depicted as “normal”, the abuse has nothing to do with the plot, to me it’s just bad characterization and a weak device to create tension. This book was just like The Bad Beginning, where the characters just behaved irrationally and not consistent with the genre and story arc.

So I wish I could have given this book more stars because Neil is really a phenomenal writer and storyteller. The descriptions are a little overdone for my taste, but it’s still really good imagery and fantastic prose.  However, the characterization, plot and story arc did not work for me AT ALL!

What about you? Have you read this book? What did you think of it.

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