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I was dying to read this book. So I bought it the day it came out and instantly sat down and read it. It was a spectacular read with a dark fairy tale vibe to it and a very nostalgic atmosphere.
The book starts with our nameless main character who is a middle aged man who has journeyed back to his childhood town for a funeral. Once there he journeys to the Hempstock farm and starts to remember strange things about his childhood that he has long forgotten. Thus starts the tale of a seven year boy and a magical girl named Lettie Hempstock who believes the duck pond behind her house is an ocean.
Spectacular read with a dark fairy tale/folklorish vibe to it. I enjoyed it a lot. This book is very atmospheric, full of subtle magic, and a bit creepy.
As normal Gaiman does an excellent job with imagery and really makes the world and time come alive for his readers. The majority of the book is told from a child’s perspective and as such the story has a very childlike quality to it. The narrator doesn’t see things like an adult would and tends to simplify certain problems while still being able to accept a world beyond his imagination.
We are introduced to a world that is both nostalgic and eerily magical. There are monsters that dwell here and monsters that prey on those monsters. There are strangely sympathetic cats, little girls that are old, and ponds that are really oceans. It is a magical place that lies within and near our world. It is also a dark and scary place but not without it’s light.
The book mainly emphasis the power and importance of story and the quest of one adult to follow his nostalgia and unravel the mysteries that surround it.
This book would probably be appropriate for young adults, but not for younger readers. The monsters are way to creepy for younger readers, they were enough to give me nightmares. As well there is a scene where the narrator’s father is intimately involved with another woman (which the narrator as a child doesn’t understand). There was also a scene where the narrator digs a gigantic worm out of his foot that really grossed me out…
The story wraps up in a way that is full of irony and will make you chuckle a bit as a reader. It is also a bit sad and melancholy. It’s the type of story you think back to and wonder at. Definitely something I will read again at some point.
Overall I thought this was a spectaular read. I loved the dark fairy tale feel to it, the way childhood wonder and nostalgia are portrayed, and the absolutely terrifying monsters that the narrator encounters. Gaiman has a created a story full of the wonder of childhood, the terror of things that bump in the night, and the magicallness of it all. This is a wondrous story that I recommend everyone read.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 150+ Reading Challenge