Customer Reviews for

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

81 out of 99 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

17 out of 19 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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  • 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 3 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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  • Posted January 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I guess this is for fans of Mr Gaiman's work, but as my first ex

    I guess this is for fans of Mr Gaiman's work, but as my first experience, it left me shaking my head. I didn't know anything about the book, just took a chance based on praises from readers, but this wasn't my style. Bizarre, weird, and more like a fairy tale or a nightime story, this mercifully short book felt more like a chore than a good beach read. Sorry I didn't like it as much as his fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    Not what I thought it wouldbe...

    This book was definitely not worth the money. It left me with more questions than answers and was disappointingly anticlimactic. Not sure what the point of the story was.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Meh

    Great pace kept me turning pages but the world was not believable and felt like a knockoff. Also, the ending felt like the author just totally gave up.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Confusing

    I just didn't understand the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    Strange

    Since this was on a best seller list and it had a long wait time in the elibrary, my expectations were high. I did not like thi book at all and did not really finish it despite its short length. It wasnt the subject- i really enjoyed the gollum and the jinni book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    When I was younger I was a huge Neil Gaiman fan - Sandman comics

    When I was younger I was a huge Neil Gaiman fan - Sandman comics, etc. Sadly, I cannot recommend this book. Reads like a YA novel. Would have made an interessting graphic novel, but lacks depth and complexity. Poorly written with sentences like, "She was there, but she wasn't." or "It was an ocean, but it wasn't". Seriously! Sounds like stuff we wrote in high school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    You know who would love this? People who loved the movie Beasts

    You know who would love this? People who loved the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild. I did not care for that movie. While it was loved, nominated and grabbed awards in the 2013 award season, it was overly simple while not clear on any one point.

    The author admits that this was meant to be a short story and it reads exactly like that. The locations, character and plot are short and to the point because there isn't room to elaborate in less than 200 pages. I paid $30 for it but will return it because it's far too much for a short story, let alone one I didn't care for.

    I was hoping this was going to have more about the ocean or any ocean and it is barely mentioned in the start and end of the book and a small scene towards the end. The opal miner they talk about is a small part of the book but has very little to do with the super natural being they deal with.

    If you took out the portion with adultery, this would easily be accepted as a young adult reader, maybe younger. It's that simple.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    I really wanted to love this, but by the end of the novel I felt

    I really wanted to love this, but by the end of the novel I felt as if I'd missed something. I wonder whether it would have been more effective if the mythology had been more completely illustrated for us, because while his actual sentences are as beautiful as ever, Gaiman's overall story fell flat for me. I was too caught up trying to figure out the Hempstock's backstory. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Incomplete - 150 pages, mediocre ending

    Decided to try out a different genre for a change. This book had very good reviews, though one individual did mention that $9.99 for a 150 page book is excessive. Have to say I agree, not only with the cost, but the story is more like a short story than a novel. Reminds me of a movie of the week made for TV I would have seen in the 70s. The end was dissatisfying and seemed as if the author got tired of writing and chose to end it early.

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  • Posted August 28, 2013

    For me, this book was a let-down.

    In the beginning it was hard to stay interested in this book. The middle portion of the book held my interest enough to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. The ending was a real let-down. The money spent for this short read did not seem like a good value. This book will be given to our local library for their annual book sale.

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  • Posted August 10, 2013

    Another excellent story from Mr Gaiman

    Like many of Neil Gaiman's stories this pulls you in to a world that is a fascinating mixture of the familiar and the strange, the remarkable and the unremarakable.
    I would recommend it to anyone who like a story that makes you think, and smile and feel a little sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    Just OK

    This is a very short and strange story. While reading it, there were so many similarities to the Harry Potter series that it felt like a bad rip-off. Lettie the heroine is 11 and has magical powers that she is developing; that was Hermione’s age when she went to Hogwarts. The young boy gets himself into trouble and needs the help of Lettie to get him out of it (Harry and Ron). Old Mrs. Hempstock has tons of knowledge, wisdom and magical powers, slyly helps Lettie and the young boy, but never overtly until it is absolutely necessary, just like Dumbledor. The home of Lettie, Mrs. Hempstock and Old Mrs. Hemstock has lots of land, a garden, and many animals and is not up to date; something like what Hagrid lived in. Mandrakes are used by Lettie and she reference their screaming, while a sneaky, slightly mean ginger cat (Mrs. Norris) also makes an appearance.

    If you have read Harry Potter then you don’t need to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    It is a Fairy Tale:  I did not realize it when I bought it. 

    It is a Fairy Tale:  I did not realize it when I bought it. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2013

    I cannot recomend Book had an interesting storyline but----

    This book had too much description, so much that the excessive information felt like filler
    It felt as if the author had a good idea and he rushed to connect the parts with filler in order to meet a publishing deadline

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    Strange

    I feel like im missing something?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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