Sitting down to write a review of this book, I don't quite know where to start.
I was going to quote a passage that I particularly loved. But no good can come of that. Once I opened that door, where would I stop quoting
So let me say this. I genuinely loved this book. I look forward to reading it again. I will buy copies for my family as gifts. I will listen to the audio and lament my own lack of narrative skill. I will gush about it to strangers.
In short, it is a Neil Gaiman novel.
There is truth here, and beauty, and joy, and a sad, sweet melancholy that moves through my chest like distant thunder.
I realize that what I am writing here is not really a review in any conventional sense. It is a paen. A panegyric. It is the textual equivalent of a huge, happy, gormless grin.
And you know what I'm fine with that. Let the professionals write their reviews. Let them get all jargony about it. Let them try to pin this book to the page, not realizing that a pinned butterfly holds no delight. A pinned butterfly is nothing like a butterfly at all.
I make no claims to impartiality in regard to Gaiman's work. Sandman changed how I thought about stories. Neverwhere was a talisman for me. Stardust is a golden bell hung in my heart. And American Gods taught me that there was a *name* for the sort of book I was struggling to write. It was a picaresque.
So if you're looking for impartiality, this is not the review for you. Look elsewhere.
Me I will enjoy The Ocean at the End of the Lane without dissection. It made me happy. It made me feel less alone. It made me love Neil Gaiman a little more than I already did, and that's something I didn't think was possible.
Do I hope to someday write a book like this No. I never could. He's done something odd and strange and lovely here. I couldn't hope to replicate it.
Instead, this is what I hope.
In the future, when Joss Whedon and I are best friends and hanging out together in my tree fort, I hope Neil Gaiman comes over too. Because then the three of us will all play Settlers of Catan together. And I will win, because I'm really great at Settlers of Catan. But I will also be very gracious about it, and apologize for putting the bandit on Gaiman's wheat twice in a row.
Then we will make smores, and I will toast a marshmallow with such deftness and perfection that they will be amazed and realize I am kinda cool. Then we will talk about Battlestar Galactica, and which Doctor is our favorite, and we will tell ghost stories late into the night.
God I'm tired. I should really go to sleep. I have no idea what I'm saying anymore.
I hope I don't regret this in the morning.