This is a non-spoilery (non)review of THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, Neil Gaiman’s latest work which easily placed itself in my Best Reads of 2013 shelf. I have to admit that Gaiman hardly goes wrong in my book so this one earned points even before I started reading.
Making your imagination run wild with fantastical elements under the guise of simple everyday settings is classic Gaiman. This one endeared itself to me because of the value it placed on childhood and its significance in our lives. Most of us couldn’t wait to grow up when we were snotty-faced kids and once we’re here, admittedly, there were times we wished we could go back to the times when it’s simpler.
Among the passages I loved in this book (some of which I wrote down in a Starbucks napkin):
Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.
Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everybody.
I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.
My most favorite, which I also made the title of this post:
Adults follow paths. Children explore.
Maybe if we start seeing the world like children do but behaving like adults (if that’s all possible and feasible), maybe we will be happier. What do you think?