May 22, 2020

This Week's Audiobook Recommendation

by Melinda Rose

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Written and performed by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman has said that this is his most personal story; although it's not autobiographical, he channeled his seven-year-old self while writing it.  And when he reads the story, every intended emotional note comes through in a way that simply reading it off the page may not.  I read this with an online bookclub when it was new, and across the board those who listened to it enjoyed it the most.
A young boy's life is changed when a strange family moves into the farm at the end of the lane.  They are magical in a way that is all about love and understanding, and the scenes where he's talking to the mother or the grandmother are stirring.  He becomes very close with the daughter and they have adventures, sometimes into other realms.  Things go wrong, as they often do, and the children have to find a way to fix the imbalance they've created.
So much of this story is about how it feels to be seven years old; feeling powerless over changes in your life, frustrated when the adults won't believe you, and so totally open to all the magic the world has to offer, even when it's scary. There is a vulnerability and sweetness in the telling that warms my heart. It's a quick listen, only about five hours, but the story will stay with you, and it just may be the salve you're looking for right now.

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