The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman I wanted to like this book, I really did. After all, it got such raving reviews from so many places and even a couple of my friends recommended that I read it. Yet I didn't connect with the book. I cannot say I hated it or even that I disliked it - upon finishing it I just felt...nothing, really.

I couldn't connect with any of the characters, for starters. I found the main speaker to be a little annoying at certain parts of the story but once I reminded myself that it was a 7 year old boy (or rather, the recollections of the speaker when he was 7 years old) then I stopped and kept on reading. Lettie was to be a strong character I believe, one that really draws in your attention and makes you feel something; I, again, felt nothing. She fell flat for me. I couldn't call her that strong a character despite the ending. It was a rather cyclical novel where everything feeling repetitive and predictable and I just wanted it all to end.

What usually makes or breaks a book for me is how well it sucks me in, and whether or not it actually does. This one failed to do so. I felt like I was glancing at everything from the sidelines. The writing was a bit choppy and the story felt rather quickly stitched up. I was expecting something more coherent, I guess, something more grandiose and terrifying or have some kind of little detail that made me go 'Wow, now that's amazing!'. None of that happened. 50 pages of a book are usually, roughly, a good marked to decide whether or not this book really is that good or not, and by page 50 I was still not won over, not captivated.

The only thing that did touch me a little was the ending. It had that bittersweet feeling I enjoy in endings but even then it was a bit lazily dragged out in a way that failed to make me connect with the characters and empathize for them, for Lettie especially. It all just whipped by me, the whole thing reading as if I was inside a bubble and struggling to say what was going on beyond it.

It makes me sad actually that this book left me with such a lack of emotion or thoughts after reading it and, more importantly, I was left feeling like I missed some kind of big piece of the puzzle which I just misplaced or failed to notice. I don't know. Whatever it was it didn't touch me. I felt like I tried to wade deep into a kiddie pool.