“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” ― Neil Gaiman
I think it’s only fair to tell you before I talk about The Ocean at The End of the Lane that I have a huge writer-crush on Neil Gaiman. It happened shortly before all the hype started about this book. I stumbled upon the commencement speech he gave to the Class of 2012 at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I am not sure if it’s the speech or Gaiman himself but I fell in love.
I didn’t read the comics even as a child when my father was devoted to “the funnies” as they were then called. I had never heard of The Sandman Series of graphic novels and was only vaguely aware of Gaiman’s other work. I was completely smitten by that speech, so I began paying attention whenever Neil Gaiman was mentioned. In the last month, because of the publication of The Ocean at The End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman has been everywhere.
I have to confess that I cautiously snuck up on this book. Why? Because I am a “scaredy-cat “and I tend to avoid horror novels and movies. I was in college when The Exorcist came out in 1971. My father said, “Don’t read that book.” (He had.) I, of course, took that as a challenge. I should have listened to him. I slept for the next month with a rosary. Ever since then, I tend to avoid books and movies that come with the label of “scary”.
I did read The Ocean at The End of the Lane and I can recommend it to you. You need to be aware that it is not a child’s fairy tale even though it is about children and it will linger after you have finished reading it. The book has been reviewed everywhere so I am not going to tell you more than this.The story is about a socially awkward seven-year old boy who lives through books and whose actions accidently release an ancient evil into the world. Suddenly, his life goes all wrong.
The Ocean at The End of the Lane is something special because of Gaiman’s ability to give authentic voices to the two children in the story. Gaiman readily admits to having been that little boy – the premise of the story is based on something that happened to him as a child. Now in his fifties, it is due to his gift as a writer that the reader never doubts the narrator of the story is only seven.
I think you will enjoy The Ocean at The End of The Lane. It might make you a little more understanding of the seven-year olds in your life (and the seven year-old that still lives in you).