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248 pages, Hardcover
First published June 18, 2013
Lettie shrugged. “Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.”This story is an amalgam of helplessness and innocent ignorance of childhood with universe-old wisdom, with mystery and wonder and unexplainable and unfathomable and things that lurk around the corners of reality and seep through the cracks in the world. There's friendship and love, and cruelty and resentment. And there are monsters - and, in the true fashion of the tradition I love, the real monsters come from the people's wishes, the people's own selves, the deep down dark that lives inside us.
“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.”
“I’m going to tell you something important. 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. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”And maybe something from underneath that sinister sky will choose you as a way to break through reality into your little secure world of a child. And maybe because of that you will come to a terrifying realization that the world is not safe, that adults may not be there to protect you, that world has teeth and is ready to bite you with them any time it wants to. And you realize that nothing is as it seems - and that there's no reason why the pond cannot be Lettie Hempstock's ocean, after all.
"I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger. I saw the world from above and below. I saw that there were patterns and gates and paths beyond the real. I saw all these things and understood them and they filled me, just as the waters of the ocean filled me.
Everything whispered inside me. Everything spoke to everything, and I knew it all."
"I found myself thinking of an ocean running beneath the whole universe, like the dark seawater that laps beneath the wooden boards of an old pier: an ocean that stretches from forever to forever and is still small enough to fit inside a bucket, if you have Old Mrs. Hempstock to help you get it in there, and you ask nicely."Neil Gaiman again is at his best, which for him is, I guess, just ordinary. This book will join my personal favorites by him - especially 'The Graveyard Book' to which it's a soul cousin.
“And did I pass?"
The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk. On my left the younger woman said, "You don't pass or fail at a being a person, dear.”
I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid, unshakeably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation.Perhaps this one is a dud because while there were many parts that caught my attention, nothing was fleshed out enough to hold me to this book.
“Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters.”Possibly this one was a dud because after nearly 200 pages...nothing is explained.
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
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.I turned 7 early in third grade. It was a memorable school year because I had for a teacher a nun with a reputation. Sister Evangelista was about 5 foot nuthin’, and symmetrical. If the what’s black and white, black and white, black and white – a nun rolling down a hill joke were applied to her you would have needed a lot more black-and-whites, as her spherical shape would have kept her rolling a long time. It earned her the nickname Cannonball. She was notorious, not only for her distinctive dimensions, but for having a particularly foul temper. Her starched garb also pinched her face into a state of permanent floridity and pursed her lips into a particularly fish-like shape. It was not a happy year for me at school. There would be more than one instance of raised voices, and more than one rap across the hands with yardsticks. I was even banned from the classroom for a spell, to wander the halls for hours, unaccompanied. But I somehow knew that eventually I would be a third grader no longer and would escape the sharpened claws and flapping habit of this creature. She was unpleasant, for sure, but she did not present an existential threat.
It was meant to be just about looking out at the world through the kind of eyes that I had when I was 7, from the kind of landscape that I lived in when I was 7. And then it just didn't quite stop. I kept writing it, and it wasn't until I got to the end that I realized I'd actually written a novel. ... I thought — it's really not a kids' story — and one of the biggest reasons it's not a kids' story is, I feel that good kids' stories are all about hope. In the case of Ocean at the End of the Lane, it's a book about helplessness. It's a book about family, it's a book about being 7 in a world of people who are bigger than you, and more dangerous, and stepping into territory that you don't entirely understand.Gaiman was aware that his work might appeal to young readers for whom is it not intended. He said that he deliberately made the first few chapters of the book dull as a way to dissuade younger readers, who would be put off by that and disinclined to continue on to the juicy bits.
I will tell my wife, by making stuff up, kind of what it was like to be me when I was seven, from the inside of my head, not in the real world, then put it in the actual landscape that I grew up in.There really had been a boarder who killed himself in the family ride. Like his young hero, Gaiman climbed drainpipes. There really was a farm down the lane that had been recorded in the DomesDay Book.
"All monsters are scared.
That's why they're monsters."
"And did I pass?"
The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk.
On my left the younger woman said,
"You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear."
Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, and find the spaces between fences.
"Can't drink the water from the sea, can you? Too salty. Like drinking life's blood."
"I lay on the bed and lost myself in the stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway."
"If I looked inward I would see only infinite mirrors, staring into myself for eternity."
أخيرا صرت ووالدي أصدقاء ببلوغي العشرينات. كان بيننا القليل جدا من الإهتمامات المشتركة عندما كنت صبيا، وأنا متأكد إنني كنت خيبة أمل له، هو لم يتمني إبنا بكتاب ، منعزل لعالمه الخاص..هو أراد إبنا يفعل ما فعله: يمارس السباحة، الملاكمة، الرجبي، ويقود السيارات بإنطلاق وإستمتاع ، لكن لم يكن هذا ما أنتهي به الحال
أنت لا تنجح أو تفشل في كونك شخصا يا عزيزي