Book Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
reviewed on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1


This book was a quick read - certainly on the shorter side of "novel". I enjoyed it while I read it, but at the same time, I think part of the reason I read it so quickly was that I was trying to get to the magic that I expected to find. The book never quite reached the level of "Neverwhere" or "American Gods". I think one of the big problems is that 90% of the book is actually just a flashback. The narrator returns home for a funeral and while visiting childhood locations is drawn to a place that triggers forgotten memories. So, it's being told by someone that is just remembering these things - there's no tension, no worry about what's going to happen. And because of that, the book loses something.

The story is an interesting story, I liked the Hempstock's, but the story would have been better told from a "currently happening" perspective. I liked how despite trying to fix things, innocent child mistakes kept making things worse.

I think the biggest disappointment is the lack of impact on the main character - in every other Neil Gaiman book, the main character winds up changed forever from their interaction with the supernatural world. In this book the main character doesn't even remember what happened until he returned to the pond, and so it has no impact on his life. This left a bit of a empty feeling in me when I reached the end and realized I was done.