Book Review – The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

I haven’t read Neil Gaiman in a while, and what I had forgotten is how I feel when I’m reading or have just finished one of his books.

Somehow, he manages to make you drift back into childhood, when everything was magical and adults were confusing and strange and life was endless and boundless and full of possibilities. He makes you think that maybe, just maybe you also had a sliver of magic in your childhood by pulling you into his universe and sprinkling fairy dust onto all your own memories.

“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”

The main character in this book is 7. But the story is being told through his memories of his childhood, 40 years later, and has both the insights of adulthood and the magical naivete of childhood. When he was 7, he was a reader, losing himself in the world of books as much as possible. Books were his friends, and his way to adventure and experience life, and his font of learning how to do things.

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”

But then he meets a girl who lives at the end of his lane. A rather magical little girl, with a magical mother and grandmother, and a magical cottage and farm, and most interesting, a magical ocean, which looks pretty much like a duck pond to most people, but childhood magic can turn the most ordinary of things into something amazing.

I don’t want to spoiler too much of this book, but I will say that it is about how even a small interaction in childhood can change the path and purpose of your life. It can change you forever. And childhood friendships, magical on their own, can be some of the most influential in the person that you become, in more ways than one.

This is a short book, and a quick read. The pacing is a little quick, but not in a bad way. It’s extremely engaging and easy to finish in one sitting on a quiet evening. It will leave you with a warmth in your heart and will make you feel like a kid again. Not that you ever stopped being one. Not really.

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

View all my reviews

2 Comments for “Book Review – The Ocean at the End of the Lane”

Patt O'Connor


After reading your review, I have to read this! You should consider doing reviews for a newspaper or magazine. You have such a great writing style.