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Marching Jo

Hi! I'm Jo, a college student reading my way through various books. I particularly enjoy YA, fantasy, and horror, but I'm also beginning to delve into sci-fi, paranormal, and other genres.

Currently reading

Travels with Charley: In Search of America
John Steinbeck
London: The Biography
Peter Ackroyd
Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson
The Ring of Solomon
Jonathan Stroud
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

If I could recommend one book to read this summer, this year even, it would be The Ocean at the End of the Lane for its beautiful, clean prose and the depth of the story behind it.

Although slow going at first, the novel quickly picks up. Gaiman masterfully teases out childhood fears and brings them to the forefront of the story, making the reader shiver and wince by alternate degrees. There is a dreamlike quality to the fears expressed by the narrator and how they manifest. As someone who is fairly unshakeable when it comes to horror in fiction, I was surprised by how much Ursula frightened me as a person, as opposed to her more fantastical form. Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and grandmother are wonderful characters and are probably the biggest reason why I was drawn into the novel. I loved the suggestions of the old country that they came from and of the powers that they carried with them. I know that some of the gripes have been that the magic isn't described in more depth, but I actually found that there was a perfect amount of mystery surrounding them that didn't need to be explained away. The ending was surprisingly gentle and wrapped up just enough to be satisfying without explaining away any of the magic in the earlier chapters.

There's so much I could say about this book, but at the end of the day, all I can really do is recommend it wholeheartedly. It's one of Gaiman's shorter reads, and although different from his other works, still carries his voice and unique perspective on fantasy. This is worth buying, as you will want to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane over and over again.