The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Book Review

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication details: June 18th 2013 by William Morrow Books
Genre: Magical realism, fable

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.

Peculiar and gripping.

Since I went in blind with my reading, I did not know what to expect. I just knew that it is a popular Gaiman read, and since I found a copy at a cheaper price, I bought it. Good for me though, because it was a beautiful read.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a gripping, short novel following the main character/narrator as he goes back in time- reminiscing his childhood encounter with monsters, Lettie Hempstock and the ocean at the end of the lane.

The beginning has an intriguing tone that immediately got me hooked. As the story progresses, it gave an entertaining yet thought-provoking narrative that deals with friendship and childhood, among others.

Throughout the book is this reminiscent tone, adding points to my reading experience. The story reminded me of childhood innocence and simplicity. The journey of needing, dreaming and even fearing and regretting during childhood- how they can all be simple and seemingly innocent, but in time can teach lessons, and may be reflected later on in life.

The magical realism definitely helps with driving the story and bringing out not only the plot but also the lesson. It made the story easier to read with its smooth flow and relatability.

The author is truly a master of his craft. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a beautifully written novel that resonates with readers.

This is my first Neil Gaiman book, and I definitely want to read his other works too (in time, hello TBR!).

If you want a short yet moving read, I definitely recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane.


Here are two of my favorite quotes from The Ocean at the End of the Lane:
"I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy."
"A flash of resentment. It's hard enough being alive, trying to survive in the world and find your place 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."