Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (5)

"Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but aren’t." 

This book was beautiful. I listened to the audiobook, read by Neil Gaiman himself, which made it even better. Driving home from rehearsal every day I would turn it on, and Gaiman would tell me my bedtime story.

This is one of those beautiful stories where Gaiman puts you in the head of a child and opens up the world as seen by a seven year old boy. Everything he said was a quote I wanted to write down and live my life by. Every description of person, place, or thing was poetry, and I was absolutely in love.

The boy's parents have become lost some wealth and have had to take in borders to help make ends meet. The Hempstock farm down the road is home to the grandmother, mother, and daughter Hempstock. Something about them is both strange and comforting, and when the boy befriends young Lettie Hempstock (who has been twelve for a long, long time) he begins a journey which will shake the framework of a world he couldn't imagine.
Enter Ursula Monkton, who is tall, thin, and pretty and everyone likes her, except the little boy, our unnamed narrator. He knows that there is something wrong with Ursula Monkton. Lettie Hempstock could help him, if only he would be allowed to go visit the farmhouse down the road and let her know what has happened. Is it the little boys fault that Ursula Monkton came to his home? Is it his fault that Ursula Monkton has been allowed to enter the world at all?

Gaiman does a masterful job of writing a book much like Alice in Wonderland, but writing it for adults. I don't even know what to tell you, but you should probably go read it right now. It was my first Neil Gaiman, so I'm not sure how it stacks up with his very large body of work, but if you like a bit of lyric fantasy, this book is definitely for you.

If you like to remain fully immersed in the real world, then this book is not for you. Otherwise, read it. It's short and sweet and scary and lovely, and if you're into audiobooks I'd definitely recommend it.

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