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Old 09-02-2013, 04:59 PM   #1
BeccaPrice
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The Ocean at the end of the Lane - review wanted

Has anyone read this, and can answer one basic question for me about it?

that is, is it melancholy and/or depressing?

It's the October choice for my book group, but I have to be *very* careful about what I read - a wrong choice can affect my mood for days on end, and I can't afford that.

I've read through the one-star reviews (most of them seem to have trouble with the fact that it's a fairy tale, not something that's an issue for me), but I still can't tell whether it's going to have a happy ending or not.

PM me if you don't want to post spoilers here - but yes, I would appreciate spoilers.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:28 PM   #2
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Have you checked it out on Goodreads? Always a good site for reviews. Check it out here http://www.goodreads.com/
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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Well .... I started reading it very enthusiastically .... the story of the bookish child resonated strongly with me ... then stopped when I reached

Spoiler:
the vivid descriptions of the home abuse, not to mention the worm in the foot


I too am strongly affected by what I read, and will drop a book rather than continue on to see if it gets better or has a happy ending.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
Spoiler:
the vivid descriptions of the home abuse, not to mention the worm in the foot
Reference the first part: do you think it was gratuitous in nature?
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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Reference the first part: do you think it was gratuitous in nature?
I don't think I read far enough beyond it to make that judgement fairly .... I just couldn't stomach the descriptions

Spoiler:
of the constant thwarting of a child's attempt to escape from seemingly endless horrible situations


so I won't label it gratuitous .... just something I couldn't personally handle. It may have been necessary to contrast with the magic the child found at the farm down the lane. Other readers may not find it so ....


N.B. I am a life-long fan of Neil Gaiman, and up till now, have read all of his works (yes, even Sandman), and understand that a recurrent theme in many of his YA books is a child in a frightening or threatening situation, and how they deal with it (Coraline, Graveyard Book, etc.), but this is the first Gaiman title I was unable to finish. To be honest, it depressed the hell out of me.

Last edited by poohbear_nc; 09-02-2013 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
I don't think I read far enough beyond it to make that judgement fairly .... I just couldn't stomach the descriptions

Spoiler:
of the constant thwarting of a child's attempt to escape from seemingly endless horrible situations


so I won't label it gratuitous .... just something I couldn't personally handle. It may have been necessary to contrast with the magic the child found at the farm down the lane. Other readers may not find it so ....
Thanks, that explains it better. I'm not into gratuitous descriptions.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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To answer your specific question " is it melancholy and/or depressing?", I would say that the book definitely has a melancholy feel, I would not say that it was depressing.

Gaiman writes well in this, as he always does, so his descriptions can be very affecting - as testified by poohbear_nc. In relation to that, I did not find the representations at all gratuitous, however I did come away from the novel feeling like I'd just read something from Stephen King (and note that he has recently done an extended interview with King). (Note: I do like King's writing too, so this wasn't a problem for me.)

I liked the book, but it doesn't make it to favourite status.

ETA: I'm not sure why people think of it as a fairy tale. Fantasy, yes, but nothing like the fairy tale feel of "Star Dust" - I love that book.

Last edited by gmw; 09-02-2013 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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I even found the end of Star Dust to be sad - I actually liked the movie version much better than the book.

Well, I thank you all for your descriptions. I think this is one book for Book Club that I'll give a pass to. We're supposed to be discussing it at ConClave (a small local SF convention) modeling how our book club works, and talking about book clubs in general - I can do that, but I don't think I can handle this book.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #9
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I liked it. It was very short, but absolutely kept my interest. I wish it had been longer.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:35 PM   #10
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Well, I finished it today, and I don't think I could have stood it had it been longer.

It was beautifully told, and no, I don't think there was anything gratuitous about the abuse, and the boy did, indeed escape through his own cleverness. It had the same kind of half-melancholy ending that the book Star Dust had - more bittersweet than I tend to like. And parts of it reminded me of a Doctor Who episode.

but I think I won't read too much more Gaiman. For one thing, his writing style influences my own too much, and not in a good way.
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