The Ocean At The End of The Lane

It was a few months ago when I was visiting a friend at a local comic book shop that also sells books that no one ever - EVER - buys. (If you're a local, you know the exact one) I confessed to her one of my darkest secrets, and now I will confess it to you. I don't like Neil Gaiman's books. Not anymore. I considered myself a fan for years and years - from early on in high school after a certain teacher introduced me to his Sandman comics until college when I started reading many of his novels. But after some point I had to admit to myself that though I hadn't read all of his stories, there weren't many that I had read that just left a good impression on me. I had to be honest - Stardust is one of the best and most beautifully crafted novels I have ever read, but after that one none have ever really been truly good.
So this past week, during a lunch break visit to the library, I found myself picking up his latest novel The Ocean at The End of The Lane. It's noteworthy that not only had I all but given up on Neil Gaiman, but also the only copies my library had in stock were large print. Large print novels, while a God-send to some readers, give me headaches due to the often obnoxiously large font. So honestly the odds were stacked up against this book from the start. Now - imagine my surprise this Friday when I find myself camped out on my couch with mugs of spent coffee and tea stacking up around me as I find myself having devoured the entire novel effortlessly - even having skipped lunch. I won't hold you in suspense any longer: I really loved this book.
Neil Gaiman has redeemed himself in my eyes. The Ocean at The End of The Lane is reminiscent (although not a recreation) of his other stories that originally endeared him to me: somewhere between Coraline and Stardust, but written instead as a fairy tale for adults. Personally, that's a cue word from me that translates into "great." I love fairy tales - they remind me of what drew me into books in the first place: love, danger, magic, adventure and wisdom. All the things stale reality is void of.

The Ocean at The End of The Lane is about a man who revisits an old family from his childhood, and while there he recalls one mighty adventure he has with them. Knowing Neil Gaiman, this doesn't mean it's a simple and realistic coming of age story. Traditionally, "coming of age stories" of this sort have less magic and mayhem. It's a quick read, so cozy up with it and some tea one of these perfect fall days.

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