I hate to admit that it was my first Neil Gaiman book. And I’m truly deeply sorry for not having read his work before. But you know what they say, ‘It’s better late than never’. Right?
So from where do I start talking about this book. It has magic, it has monsters, it has adventure and it has everything you want a perfect fantasy novel to have. The book starts with a middle aged man, who returns to his childhood home and then to this very strangely familiar pond at the end of the lane, where a lot of long forgotten memories of his childhood await him. Memories which are too inhuman, strange, horrifying and unexplained for him to understand.
This book is so captivating that it would easily make you forget your own surroundings and capture you in its own world. The best thing about this book, according to me, is its protagonist, a 7 year old boy who loves books immensely. His childhood innocence and the way he finds comforts in his books, throughout the story, even in the most odd and deadly situations, made me fall in love with this character even more. And then, of course, there’s Lettie, his 11 year old friend, a very well developed and an adorable character. She’s fearless, daring, really bright for her age and most importantly, a selfless friend.
However, this book, unfortunately, is too short for the amount of magic it holds that it would leave you craving for more in the end. It’s a book which makes you want to believe in everything which we’ve grown to not believe anymore just because it seems illogical to us now. The things we used to believe in as kids, in the reality of witches and monsters and magic, but we’ve become too ignorant to understand them as adults. Before reading this book, I read in a review somewhere which said “This book is childhood in 180 pages.” All I can say is, that’s exactly what this book really is. It’s a dreamlike story, an enchanting fairytale, it’s childhood.
Favorite quotes :
- ‘Nothing’s ever the same,’ she said. ‘Be it a second later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.’
- “I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”
- “Adults follow paths. Children explore.”
- “You don’t pass or fail at being a person.”
- “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.”