Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

The little boy lived in a small town in England in a large house with his parents and his sister. Due to an economic downturn, his parents decided to take in a boarder, meaning the boy had to give up his room and move in with his sister. The boarder was an opal miner who came to England to invest his own and his friends' money. Instead he gambled it all away. He then stole his landlord's car and drove to the nearby outskirts of town to a pond and killed himself.  The dad received a phone call informing him of the whereabouts of the car and he and his son walked there. And that is where the boy met Lettie Hempstock, a girl who lived on the farm where the pond was located. And Lettie Hempstock took the boy to places that he never should have been and accidentally caused the boy a lot of unnecessary problems, including being deliberately almost killed by his own father.

If you read the reviews about this book, you will find widespread acclaim about what a wonderful story it is. I may be the only person to review it who was not enchanted by this odd and disturbing tale. Not being of a philosophical mind set nor caring much for mythology, there was much about the book that just didn't appeal, especially the Hempstocks, the three godlike women at the center of the story. I mean, what are they doing there, on a farm in rural England? Just hanging around pretending to be human? I didn't get it. What I also didn't get was why a father who never abused his children would suddenly attempt to murder his only son. That just seemed out of character to me. Some may say he was under evil influences and maybe so. That just didn't ring true to me.
It's an OK story but not a keeper.

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