Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review VI: Ocean at the End of the Lane

I realize that it's pretty rare that I actually pick up a best-seller these days. Instead, I read whatever I can find under the "free" and "nearly free" section of Nook. Recently however, I was complaining to a colleague about the general lack of quality that I have been experiencing.

"Well, maybe you should try actually paying for a book. You get what you pay for you know. Those books might be free for a reason."

Oh. Well. Okay. Maybe. Fine.

So, with that in mind, I set out to find a "real" book- and Gaimon's was on sale.

I don't remember how much I paid but it was more than $.99, so I was instantly disappointed when I opened it and found that it only had 159 pages and BIG font.

I would say that it left me feeling a bit empty. Gaimon's story invents a wonderful world where kittens come out the ground, a lake is really an ocean, and shephard's pie sounds way better than the kind they were always eating in Harry Potter.

But then, BAM, 159 pages and it's over. Gaimon barely spends any time in this world that he created, instead he seems almost uncomfortable with his fantasy elements, spending more time describing, "how he can't describe" or a face that is only a face so long as one is looking at it, details forgotten as soon as one looks away, etc. I'm sure there were more examples but I've forgotten them.

The details and character development are sparse, although they seem rich at the beginning. Honestly, if it wasn't published I'd believe it really was only a rough draft. The story starts out with great detailing, the color of the car and the grotesque details of the dead man inside. Then the character enters a fantasy world that slowly leaks into their real life as actual details of the story leak away. A throw-away one-liner explains the character's relationship with his father, despite earlier scenes where an entirely different father/son relationship is displayed.

Overall, super disappointing. Even a bit lazy or worse cliche. And this guy is famous. And I paid!

Okay, next time I reading something free.

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