Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

July 4, 2014

in Books

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is one of those books that I picked up based on the cover. Yes, I do judge books by their covers. And this one intrigued me.

The book opens with our nameless narrator, a 50-something year old man, attending a funeral at which he delivers the eulogy. Based on that fact, you assume the deceased is important to him, and most likely a relative, but we never actually find out who died.

After the funeral he travels back to his childhood home, which has been torn down and another house built in it’s place. Then he visits the home of a childhood friend who lived at the end of the lane. As he sits by the pond at their home, he recalls moments from his childhood.

What follows is a story that is something that a child would make up to deal with a traumatic experience. It is not seated in reality, but in the imagination of a child about 7 years old who usually has his nose buried in a book.

I love this book for several reasons. On the surface, it is a great story. It is a story about how children deal with tragedy and loss. It is a story about how tragedy and loss continue to follow us throughout our lives. It is a story about how a young boy wants desperately to be able to do something about the situations he finds himself in. It is a story about how when you are small, the world is a very large and scary place once you venture outside of your home.

But beneath the surface, this story is ripe with mythological references. You have two women and a girl who live at the house at the end of the lane. They are unchanged over time. They have a depth of the Christian trilogy of God. They have roots in the three-fold goddess, they also have references to the three fates, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. There is the water of life in the pond, which is the ocean.

This book is a quick read at only 208 pages long, but it is a brilliant tale that you could read many times and still find new details emerging from the mind of the narrator.


0 stars – terrible
1 star – skip it
2 stars – ok
3 stars – enjoyable
4 stars – amazing
5 stars – life changing

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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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