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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman This is a very peculiar book on many levels. The writing is peculiar: simple prose that is able to paint a grand, bizarre tale. The premise is peculiar: an adult novel that is quite short and juvenile in context. And, finally—and certainly the most important of the three: the story itself is beyond peculiar.

I was astonished at the vivid pictures Gaiman painted using the simplest of phrases. On one moment, we are accompanying a young boy while he is eating toast his dad had burnt. And then, in quick succession, we are transported into an eerie world of orange skies and lightning-filled winds. It was quite weird. And that’s just it—I don’t get it. I thought I was beginning to grasp the theme, only to have my themed bread crumbs pecked away by the shadowy birds. And yes, it is as strange as it sounds.

The confused perspective of the book is probably what bothered me the most. At the author’s own admittance, the book is supposed to be in the perspective of a 7-year-old, yet we read several interjections from an adult narrator. This confuses the tone of the setting, to the point we have an adult talking to us in the language of a little boy.

Furthermore, the tale itself seems like an effort to blend Narnia in the world of Harry Potter, but to ill effect. Instead of a quaint tale to share with our children, we are instructed by the cover of the book that this is an adult-only novel (the word “novel” being used liberally)—danger! beware! a dead body and a subtle sex scene abide within these pages.

In the end, I was glad to have experienced an interesting story told by a well-seasoned author. However, I can’t help but feel that I just stepped off a fast and dizzy ride, set in a Tim Burton world. This may have been worthwhile, but I’ll need to let my stomach settle before passing conclusive judgment. For now, I’m going to give this book three stars for being well written, but confusing the hell out of me.