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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

images When was the last time  that you really looked at the moon?  What’s the difference between an ocean and a pond?  Can everyone see what something truly is?  The answer’s are seemingly clear, but Neil Gaiman gives us more unusual thoughts to ponder in The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  Most importantly, to be able to understand these things, Gaiman takes us back to being a child.  A middle aged man goes back to his roots for a funeral, and what does he do instead of accepting condolences from people he hasn’t seen in decades?  Driving to the end of his childhood lane, looking at a pond, and remembering that Letti Hempstock said it was an ocean.  The very ocean that the Hempstock women crossed from the Old Country.   And his memory of his 7 year old self’s experience with the Hempstock’s comes flooding back.   The Hempstocks, three women who are either grandmother, mother, and daughter- or three women, who no men took part in making, and who saw the birth of the world.   With them, he shared a terrifying otherworldly experience.  This is a book that opens your eyes to the forgotten, simple truths we overlook in our adult lives, that  “nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”  This is a book that is  otherworldly and mystical, but with an elegance, grace and simplicity that causes the reader to question his or her reality and  memories, not think that the book is science fiction.  We read and accept that as adults, we may often miss the magic and mystery of the  forces of life and the beauty and possibility of the world around around us.  I left this book, wishing it was longer, until I realized, all I had to do to keep the story it’s mystery and it’s truths going, was really look at the moon.

Denise P.

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