In England, a seven year old boy lives in a house, near a long lane that stretches down to a farm. This farm is the Hempstock farm, which has a special pond that the boy’s new friend Lettie Hempstock calls her ocean. The boy meets eleven year old Lettie Hempstock after his family’s tenant kills himself in the family car at the pond. That death sets off an incredible chain of events.
I love Neil Gaiman’s work, so I have been anticipating this book for some time. For me, Gaiman’s books usually require a bit of settling in, much in the way you sometimes have to get used to a pair of shoes that ultimately become the pair you love. However, once I was comfortably settled into the story, it completely gripped me. I’ve always liked how Gaiman takes known things–be it a story or real life item–and turn it just enough to make it different, and that book did not sway from that trend.
Even though it definitely has scary moments, much of what happens in the story is sweet and tender. The Hempstocks are the best example of that aspect: I absolutely adored the Hempstocks–all of those characters gave off such a wonderful sense of security and kindness. One especially memorable scene is when Old Mrs. Hempstock is talking to the narrator in the afterward. I just felt wonderfully warm and happy as I read that part. It played upon such a normal desire for comfort and a listener, yet at the same time the scene was far from ordinary. There are plenty examples of that kindness woven throughout the story, andI love the fact that these characters exist.
I am planning to re-read this one in the future.