(Original Review posted on Goodreads: July 9, 2013)
"All monsters are scared.
That's why they're monsters."
48 hours ago, when I read the last page for the first time, I had this strange, sad feeling. Like I had come to the end of something beautiful without really comprehending the beauty of it until the last minute.
Which is why it took me a re-read to realize how brilliant this book is.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is childhood in 181 pages.
Short. Sweet. Magical. Scary. Real.
There is a reason this book is labelled as "adult" and it has nothing to do with sexual content or violence or gore. To be an adult by age is meaningless because, to truly appreciate this book, you must be an adult by experience. You must be adult enough to miss childhood.
Me, I'm not there yet. I don't miss being a child because I remember being a child. I can still see it when I turn back.
So right now, no. This is not my favorite Gaiman book.
But in 20-odd years, it probably will be.
Because The Ocean at the End of the Lane is one of those books.
It can only grow in appeal the older you get.
"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."
4 out of 5 stars