Book Review | The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Fantastical and frightening.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The BLURB!

Dive into a magical novel of memory and the adventure of childhood, from one of the brightest, most brilliant writers of our generation.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive. There is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

(From Goodreads)

The REVIEW!

This is my first re-read of 2016. It was just as fantastical and frightening as I remembered it, but I found myself enjoying it more this time around.

I saw more of myself in the narrator this time. From his fears of the dark matching my own as a child, to what he went through not even remotely matching my own childhood. But, I had an over-active imagination, and I know that I saw and dreamed up monsters in the shadows and the dark, and maybe it wasn’t my imagination but memories.

OK, it was definitely just my imagination, but how terrifying would it be to discover that it was really a memory long forgotten?

 

Neil Gaiman did an excellent job of giving his seven year old narrator a seven year old’s voice. It felt very genuine and really helped keep me completely engaged in the story.

Honestly, I felt that Mr. Gaiman did everything right with this novel. The length felt perfect for this story – I didn’t think it dragged or it ended too quickly. The plot and the characters were just spot on, and I was in our narrator’s corner 100% of the time. I despised the monsters in this book and hoped that they would meet their demise. And I especially loved the Hempstock women. They were strong, brave, wonderfully magical, brilliant, caring, extraordinary beings.

This is one of those novels that I know I’ll continue to re-read in years to come, and one that I would honestly recommend to everyone to try. It’s one of my favorite Gaiman works, and I know I haven’t read them all yet, but I think it’ll stay one of my favorites of his.

This review is becoming a rambling mess, so I’m ending it soon.  But I really, really think you check out The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Seriously, if you haven’t yet, try and get to this book in 2016. It’s under 300 pages, and I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

The RATING!

(was there any doubt?)

Book Review | The Shock of the Fall | Shattered heart is shattered.

The Shock of the Fall

The BLURB!

I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.

(from Goodreads)

The REVIEW!

For a debut novel, The Shock of the Fall was freaking awesome.  Hell, for a however many numbered novel, this book was pretty spectacular.

This book follows Matthew and adult mental illness and very real family connections.  It shows how mental illness can affect everyone’s lives and how the person with the illness sees themselves, their family, and life/society.  It was raw and bitter and beautiful to read.

Filer did just a fantastic job at giving Matthew an original and very genuine voice.  I may not have liked him some of the times (partly because he’s a bit of an asshole), but I connected with Matthew pretty early on.  His struggles with himself, his family, and his illness were heart wrenching to witness.

The Shock of the Fall is told entirely in Matthew’s point of view, and it is written/told in a diary-type format (without the weird dated headers – which I really liked not seeing).  Filer did something pretty neat by changing up the text from normal, traditional font to typewritten.  It means something in the story and being able to see the changes really helped elevate this story to a whole new level for me.

What kept this novel from being 5 stars was the slow/disjointed beginning.  It took me a while to get used to the writing and because I couldn’t grasp the changes quick enough, my reading of this book for about the first 50 pages or so was just as disjointed and slow as reading the novel felt to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  There was a bit of hype around The Shock of the Fall and sometimes the hype isn’t deserved.  For this novel though, it really was.

The RATING!