My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, for me, was a mystery. It is a mystery before I read it – I did not know anything about the book. All I know was the plot summary on the cover. It is also the first book of Neil Gaiman that I was able to read.
And it is a mystery to me now. In one word, I think I can only describe this book as strange.
The book is about an unnamed character who was drawn to drive until the end of the lane. There he sees again the pond – Lettie’s Ocean – and he started to remember. The character met Lettie Hempstock when he was seven years old. Lettie is a very odd character- from the moment she was introduced in the book, I knew that there was something different in her – and I was right. Lettie is the type of person who fixes things. However, what she fixes is something that is beyond our ordinary worlds. When Lettie fixed something, she made the mistake of bringing the boy along with her which leads to the troubles in the childhood of the young boy.
The book starts dull and slow but it gets interesting as you read on. Questions piled up in my head as events occurred, however, I keep searching for something that is lacking in this book and I was not able to find it until the last page. I cannot explain why this book did not appeal to me as much as others because I cannot comprehend it myself. I think that the book is well-written. Gaiman’s writing style is unique, smooth and it contains the right amount of vagueness but I just can’t connect with it. Normally, I would see the events in a book in my own eyes – like I’m the character. In this book, it was like I am looking at it like a spectator- just watching on the side. I liked that the character remained nameless, though, because it can be any of us, I just couldn’t see it it to be me.
I also think of it as mild psychological horror. This book has a great representation of monsters. They are all around us, sometimes in things that are closest to us, and sometimes they are inside us. I had a deeper understanding of monsters and what they really are.
“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters.”
This book also made me reflect on myself, my own past and my own childhood. It made me wonder of what things I should have remembered but chose to forget. If maybe, like the main character, I was able to see things that are beyond my imaginations and thought of it as imaginations. The author was able to enter a child’s mind, or remember how he thinks when he was a child, and portrayed it for us. I realized that it was really the way that I think when I was a child. I mean, we were all self-centered children. I guess that’s just us, humans, no matter how compassionate we think we are, we always think about ourselves above others.
Over-all, I think this is a great read for the mind. I couldn’t say the same for the heart though. But this book is going to leave me something that I will remember my entire life – there are things that are better left forgotten.