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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
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2014 Reading Adventures > The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Madelyn Grace (literarymaddness) | 74 comments Mod
Hello Bookworms,

I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I love Gaiman's work. Leave feedback!

1.Did you like this story? Why or why not?

2.Gaiman describes this as a book for adults. What sets it apart from novels for young adults?

3.What were some of the most compelling themes and motifs?

4.What role did names play in this novel? Why did the reader never learn the narrator’s name?

5.How did this novel comment on age?

6.How literally did you take the novel (i.e. the hole in his foot)?

7.What role did money play?

8.Which character did you like the most, and why?

9.Did you find the villain scarier in her human or non-human form?

10.What does this novel say about memories — their value and their trustworthiness?


Jade (jaderv) | 61 comments Mod
I couldn't read anything else for about a week after I read this book. More money, more problems! At least for the South African. And that's what started the appearance of the flea, Ursula Monkton and the chain of events that followed the South African's death. It had this sort of calm yet incredibly thrilling tone throughout the book. It was just an awesome tale!


Sheila A. | 4 comments I loved this book and hated for it to end! Ursula was a wonderful concoction. So far I have read two of his books and intend on reading all of them!!! he has a wonderful imagination which rivals Sherlock Holmes!!!


Heather (ladymcheth) For a good while I thought this book was a sort of play on a child's imagination, that the narrator (as a child) was explaining events he experienced with a fantasy element because of the book he had been reading and with the childlike horror of the baddies and the spooky things, like the wind and the unexplainable. I don't know, that doesn't make sense....
It got to a point where I was like, oh this is really just a fantasy book. Or is it? I guess that's the brilliance of this book. Although that kid must have one heck of an imagination to conjure up all that.
I liked the book but didn't love it, even though I can recognise the brilliance of Gaiman's imagination and writing.


Erin | 104 comments Mod
I'm with Heather, I liked the book, but didn't love it. I've confirmed my belief that Gaiman is one of those writers I think I should like more than I do. That being said, I did enjoy the book. I enjoyed the low key sense of tension in how the story would resolve itself. The play on memories is something to ponder. Most scientific studies show memories are rarely accurate, and the way Gaiman illustrates the fickle nature of memory is truly the best part of the novel.
This is definitely not a children's fable. The theme of money, its lack and the pain it causes are adult in nature. Children and adults see money very differently, but the physical manifestations of money and the pain it causes shown by the shilling in the narrator's throat and the foreshadowing of the trouble by the coin in the fish are not related to childhood.

I also found the villain to be far more frightening in her human form. She was recognizable as something to fear in her natural form. As a human, she was able to fool most people. A true statement about the true evil in the world, I suppose. Overall, I did like the book. Now I'm curious about the other Gaiman book on our list and whether I will like that as well.


Madelyn Grace (literarymaddness) | 74 comments Mod
I absolutely adored this book. I am biased because I am madly in love with Neil Gaiman and to me everything he writes is gold. He could write a grocery list and I would love it. I think Gaiman has such a talent for showing different perspectives from each character. The way that children and adult see money is very different and complex. Children often see what we miss. The villain Ursula is terrifying and ghastly. It reminded me of my own childhood fear of telling my parents with the fear they would not believe. Also, I believe the control and the lack there of really plays a motif in the book. The battle of control over his family and life vs Ursula really gives you a sense of childhood emotions and insecurities. If you are a Neil Gaiman newbie, I highly suggest you read more of his work. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.


message 7: by Colleen (last edited Feb 18, 2014 04:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Colleen I am a Gaiman newbie, and do want to read more of his work. Any suggestions? Neverwhere seems like it would be a good read. I guess I missed the role of money in the book. Also the South African man - I guess I was confused, now I see the relationship between memory and childhood more and how kids can see things as scary. But I loved the story about the women and girl who protected him. A great fantasy novel, but a wonderful story with some deep themes. Not used to his style or much writing like this, but it was good. I pretty much took everything literally - it was terrible how his dad got used by Ursula.


Heather (ladymcheth) The only other Gaiman books I've read are Stardust and Coraline. Stardust was good but I much preferred the movie (don't say that often) and I really like Coraline. I missed the money role too.


Sheila A. | 4 comments Neverwhere was great, different theme but enjoyable. I am not usually a fantasy reader but he really has me hooked because of the great character development and fine writing!


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