The Ocean at the End of the Lane: a Piece of Childhood

Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: William Morrow and Company
Publication: June 18th, 2013
Pages: 192 Pages

There is one thing I could not resist: good book. That is why I should never come to a bookstore when I planned to save my allowance. But one afternoon, I went for lunch with my best friend and we somehow ended up in Periplus Istana Plaza Bandung. Here is what I found there: a new book from one of my favorite author, Neil Gaiman. So my saving plan came to such failure, but then I didn't really regret my decision to grab this short novel.

This book is about a middle-aged man who came back to the neighborhood where he spent his childhood to attend a funeral. He found out that his old house is gone and ended up in a farm where Lettie Hempstocka friend when he was seven
live with her grandmother and mother. He never really remember how his childhood was until he sat by the pond that Lettie claimed to be an ocean, as he started to remember his strange, scary, and dangerous stuff happened in his childhood life.
It was started when a man committed suicide at the back seat of the car he stole from the man's father. That man's death unleashed something dark, frightening, and hard-to-understand thing. Lettie who was older and wise promised him to always protect him no matter what happen.

Reading Gaiman is a pleasure. I never really know what his genre is. I just know it's Gaiman and it's always feel familiar. His works always makes me feel like a little child who read a fairytale before I go to sleep. It's always feels like reading a children books even though I think the contents and themes of his books are too dark for children. The Ocean at the End of the Lane not only feels like a children book, it is a piece from your childhood. It brought you back to those times when you can't sleep with the light off, where good and bad can be distinguish as easy as black and white. It is nostalgic. It is so Gaiman. Being Gaiman, of course this book wouldn't be easy to understand, but that is exactly how we feel when we are just a kid. But you don't need to understand, you need to feel. It's simple but hits you right in the chest in some part. Here I quote some of them:

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.” 

“Books were safer than other people anyway.” 

Oh how I relate to those three. Here are some more:

“You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear.” 

“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 they aren't.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is small and comforting. It reminds you of how bad things often take different shapes to make us miserable in life, but we will eventually get through it. We will learn. We are human, and nobody pass or fail at being someone.
This is not for children but this is for adults who want to remember, and tell me, who wouldn’t want to remember how we took joy in things we like when we were a kid, even if we were too young to understand?

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