Customer Reviews for

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

96 out of 117 people found this review helpful.

Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted

Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted readers with his storytelling abilities. His almost childlike sensibilities have allowed him to reach audiences through various mediums, spanning from comic books to more traditional children and adult lite...
Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted readers with his storytelling abilities. His almost childlike sensibilities have allowed him to reach audiences through various mediums, spanning from comic books to more traditional children and adult literature. With his latest adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, he explores a dark story with enough whimsy and emotion to attract readers of all tastes.
The novel begins with a forty something year old man returning to the small English town where he grew up. His old home has long been demolished, but he is drawn instead to a dilapidated farmhouse at the end of the lane. When he arrives there, he begins to reflect on his childhood and the dark events that occurred at the place.
He was only seven years old when it began. A quiet boy, more at home with his nose in a book than playing with other children, he was an outcast within his own family. We learn that the family is struggling with money. They decide to move him from his own room to bunk with his sister, leaving an empty bed to rent out. With the arrival of the renter, a mysterious opal miner, dark events begin to occur.
The boy meets the three generations of Hempstock women who run the farm at the end of the lane. Lettie Hempstock, who claims to have been eleven years old for a very long time, immediately entrances the boy with her enchanting way with words and conviction that the pond that rests at the very end of the lane is actually an ocean. She agrees to allow him to tag along as she takes a trip to an odd place that lies somewhere between this world and the next. Upon their return from the strange place, an evil is released. Following the untimely death of the mysterious opal miner, this evil takes the form of a menacing nanny, who takes up residence at the boy's home. With the help of the Hempstock women, the boy must vanquish the evil while learning the true meaning of sacrifice.
Neil Gaiman is known for his delightfully dark, whimsical fairytales. This novel is no exception. At its heart, this is a coming of age story that beautifully depicts the fun, confusion, magic, and sacrifice of growing up. Gaiman makes these sometimes difficult realities more accessible through his imaginative characters, situations, and pacing. The novel is completely engrossing, begging to be read in a single sitting. With an ending that is both poignant and satisfying, readers of all ages should definitely follow Gaiman to the end of the lane.

posted by ABookAWeekES on June 18, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But ever

I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But every time I read his works I come away feeling like something is missing. American Gods left me puzzled and confused and to a certain degree angry.  Ocean, however was a better experience, but you are left wit...
I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But every time I read his works I come away feeling like something is missing. American Gods left me puzzled and confused and to a certain degree angry.  Ocean, however was a better experience, but you are left with more questions than answers and somehow I get the feeling that is his aim. Bad luck for me I'm not the kind of reader entertained by such devices. So I'm leave it at this, if you love Gaiman, you'll love this. If you hate Gaiman, you'll hate this and if you  have never read him before, he's definitely a modern classic writer for all the good and bad of it but still worth a try. 

posted by AzureGrimoire on July 3, 2013

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  • Posted June 18, 2013

    Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted

    Over the course of his career, author Neil Gaiman has delighted readers with his storytelling abilities. His almost childlike sensibilities have allowed him to reach audiences through various mediums, spanning from comic books to more traditional children and adult literature. With his latest adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, he explores a dark story with enough whimsy and emotion to attract readers of all tastes.
    The novel begins with a forty something year old man returning to the small English town where he grew up. His old home has long been demolished, but he is drawn instead to a dilapidated farmhouse at the end of the lane. When he arrives there, he begins to reflect on his childhood and the dark events that occurred at the place.
    He was only seven years old when it began. A quiet boy, more at home with his nose in a book than playing with other children, he was an outcast within his own family. We learn that the family is struggling with money. They decide to move him from his own room to bunk with his sister, leaving an empty bed to rent out. With the arrival of the renter, a mysterious opal miner, dark events begin to occur.
    The boy meets the three generations of Hempstock women who run the farm at the end of the lane. Lettie Hempstock, who claims to have been eleven years old for a very long time, immediately entrances the boy with her enchanting way with words and conviction that the pond that rests at the very end of the lane is actually an ocean. She agrees to allow him to tag along as she takes a trip to an odd place that lies somewhere between this world and the next. Upon their return from the strange place, an evil is released. Following the untimely death of the mysterious opal miner, this evil takes the form of a menacing nanny, who takes up residence at the boy's home. With the help of the Hempstock women, the boy must vanquish the evil while learning the true meaning of sacrifice.
    Neil Gaiman is known for his delightfully dark, whimsical fairytales. This novel is no exception. At its heart, this is a coming of age story that beautifully depicts the fun, confusion, magic, and sacrifice of growing up. Gaiman makes these sometimes difficult realities more accessible through his imaginative characters, situations, and pacing. The novel is completely engrossing, begging to be read in a single sitting. With an ending that is both poignant and satisfying, readers of all ages should definitely follow Gaiman to the end of the lane.

    96 out of 117 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Nothing like it

    It was a surprise when I first saw the book, not because of its appealing tittle but because of it's length. I had come into the book expecting a long novel, what with such an intriguing tittle and all. Now that I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane I am even more surprised that I could find so much in such few pages. I often found myself at mid-sentence, lost in my own thoughts and an endless stream of ideas an reflections that spurred from something I had read in the book that caught my mind. Never in the countless books I have read have I come across the feeling I got with this book. The pages contain a feel of wisdom about our existence that catch you unprepared yet leave you no choice but to follow stop and reflect even at the most trivial things.
    It was a beautiful experience that I highly recommend.

    59 out of 63 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    After reading Gaimans other novels, I was excited to hear of thi

    After reading Gaimans other novels, I was excited to hear of this new one. It's on the short end of the scale for a novel, length wise, but incredible nonetheless. From the wonders and possibilities of childhood, to the adult elements, I found the prose just as magical as the story. I look forward to whatever Mr. Gaiman can dream up next. 

    31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2013

    From start to finish, this was an amazing story. I expect nothin

    From start to finish, this was an amazing story. I expect nothing less from Gaiman. I loved it so much, in fact, I'm re-reading it right now. 

    26 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    The OceanvAt The End of the Lane

    I have read almost all Gaiman's books and have enjoyed them all. The fact that his books can be so different from one another is an effect of his huge talent. This book was different and I found it very enjoyable.
    There, see how easy that is....all you have to do is make a comment or two about if you liked the book or not, and maybe why or why not! Not since leaving 4th grade after learning how to write a full book report has ANYONE been interested in reading one! Don't you long winded (really lomg winded!!!) Book report writers get that if we are here, on a Nook, chances are we can read the plot summary written under the Editorial Review section all by ourselves--AND DO NOT need it endlessly repeated? All of you, write letters to people who care instead of wasting time and space here! How many times by how many people do you have to read this before you all get a clue???

    25 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    A world you'll get lost in, willingly. worth all the hype his bo

    A world you'll get lost in, willingly. worth all the hype his books always seem to garner. You could read it in one sitting, huddled under a blanket, by flashlight.

    25 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've had the pleasure of read

    This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've had the pleasure of reading. And what a pleasure it was! This story has great mystery that keeps you turning the pages. The characters are well developed and I loved the plot.

    23 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But ever

    I really want to like Neil Gaiman's work...I really do. But every time I read his works I come away feeling like something is missing. American Gods left me puzzled and confused and to a certain degree angry.  Ocean, however was a better experience, but you are left with more questions than answers and somehow I get the feeling that is his aim. Bad luck for me I'm not the kind of reader entertained by such devices. So I'm leave it at this, if you love Gaiman, you'll love this. If you hate Gaiman, you'll hate this and if you  have never read him before, he's definitely a modern classic writer for all the good and bad of it but still worth a try. 

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Ocean at the End of the Lane was like skinny dipping on a hot Ju

    Ocean at the End of the Lane was like skinny dipping on a hot June night, in a deep, moon dappled pond. I held my breath, and dove deep...... you awoke magic with your words......I shall never be the same.I thank you.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2013

    Story was OK.... Just wish I had paid closer attention to the l

    Story was OK.... Just wish I had paid closer attention to the length of the book... A lot of money for 159 pages. Come on Barnes and Noble and Mr Gaiman be reasonable.
    Definitely wait until it goes to the bargain bin....

    14 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    "Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content

    "Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences."

    This was the one quote that really made me stop reading the novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by author Neil Gaiman and really consider all the profound truth that may lie within the simple quote. It is very true and it takes the imagination of a child to really appreciate all the things that Neil brings to life in this one. An adult would try to reason there way through this, while a child would just accept what is happening and move forward without needing to know why.

    In this dark, fairy tale story, monsters are really and the things you think are real, really are. In fact I am reminded of Tim Burton's movies as I read through this one. At first, it doesn't make a lot of sense much like a child explaining something out of the ordinary. You just need to stop over analyzing it and just take it as face value and continue to dig deeper.

    In this one the narrator, who's name I don't believe is ever mention is remembering back to a childhood experience that happened to him when he was only seven. Now much older he has returned to the place when the horror began and where the nightmare was something he truly lived and not dreamed. It begins with the death of the boy's only companion, a kitten that was accidentally run over and killed by their border, an Opal Miner who thinks simply replacing the cat will appease the damage he has done. This is the beginning of a not so happy story. Much like A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Gaiman takes his much deeper and to a darker place where evil now has an open door into the current world in which to find a foothold in solving what people believe makes them happy. To do so, requires a bit of finesse, but one our character can see through.

    It's when he follows his father one morning when their car is reported missing that he discovers the body of the Opal Miner in the car and thus introduces us to the women in the Hempstock household who have the uncanny ability to solve things that no one else can see. He is soon befriended by Lettie, an eleven year old girl who has been eleven for quite some time and has a prophetic vision to what is really happening in town. Lettie and her family live at the end of the lane and care for the boy until his father comes calling for him. Soon he finds out that Lettie and her family have far more powers than he could ever imagine and thus the novel turns into a darker more menacing version of Alice in Wonderland meets Bridge to Terabithia.

    I received The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. This is not recommended for young teens and falls in the upper young adult category to be age appropriate. I would have to say the writers ability to pull off an exceptional fantasy tale with a dark twist is wonderful and I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars. It is a surprisingly thin novel that draws out the story to feel like you've read a whole lot more pages than you did, a mark of an exceptional writer. I look forward to reading more from this author and fully enjoyed his unique writing style. This is the very same author who wrote Coraline, so you can prepare yourself for what you are about to find inside.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Sometimes, a book comes along that is quite different than every

    Sometimes, a book comes along that is quite different than everything else you read. This is that book. It's a small book, one that I read in a couple sittings, and really, I wouldn't have it any other way. Becuase for those several hours in my life, I was somehwere else. Rarely can a book capture hot only your interest, but your heart, your spirit. All too easy we forget what it's like to be young and innocent. A time when believing comes naturally. There aren't apt words to describe this book, but I'll try anyways. This book is mystical, and heart-warming, and so much more. It brought me back into my childhood, when life was simpler. If you haven't read this book, read it...now. If you're weary to spend this much money on a pretty small book, I do understand, but I can tell you sometimes the money does not compare to the experiecne you get. This book is simply magical, and I got reccomend it enough.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    I can't  believe I paid $12.80 for this book.  First book I've r

    I can't  believe I paid $12.80 for this book.  First book I've read by this author and it will be the last.

    6 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Delightful read

    Fantasy at it's best. Lovely little story about a 7 yr old boy and his new friend who lives at the end of the lane and whose pond is actually an ocean. Will not give away any of the story but it is charming. Very quick read too!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Threshold

    I love to read and it would usually take me less then a day to read anion this length. However I had to force myself to finish this book (taking me nearly a week). The story was slow, the charecters do not have much depth, between jumping point of veiw and the flash backs its hatd to keep track and make any sense of what is actually going on. All and all it was a waste of money and not something I would reccomend.

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    disappointing

    Not my kind of book. Sorry I spent $11.00. Only 190 pages. (Guess I should be happy about that!).

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    I just can't see what people like about this story. While it kep

    I just can't see what people like about this story. While it kept me entertained at times, in the end it just to appeared to be senseless babble. I am sorry, I cannot give kudos to a story that is basically senseless fantasy that makes no commitment to a conclusion or point. If you have a few hours to waste, have at it.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was my first Neil Gaiman novel, and will likely be my last.

    This was my first Neil Gaiman novel, and will likely be my last. I just did not like this book at all. It's marketed as an adult fantasy novel, but it's novella length and read like a children's story. The narration was flat and I never connected with or even liked any of the characters. I wish things in the story had been explained; I left the novel feeling like I didn't know any more about what had occurred than I did during it. If it hadn't been so short, I'd never have been able to finish it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    I really didn't care for it at all. I have an imagination but th

    I really didn't care for it at all. I have an imagination but this book was not for me.

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Clicky Clicky!

    Didn't this guy write the graveyard book?

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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