I listened to this on audio, performed by Neil Gaiman and I have to say that I enjoyed it more than I did when I tried reading it a few years ago. Perhaps it was the hype of the novel when it first came out, or perhaps it was because it was a fantasy novel which I wasn't a big fan of years ago, but today this audio got my attention.
I loved the relationships that evolved within this novel and I loved the innocence that the main character had. With the darkness that surrounded the novel, I was nervous at times for the main character as I thought his innocence slowed him down. His neighbors, who were they? I was so glad that they were there for him, they were his salvation, they were almost too good to be true and then the more that the story was revealed, I had to smile for everything was now falling into place. It was a wonderful story, I could listen to Gaiman read to me every day.
I enjoyed this gem via audiobook using Hoopla, which is annoying and glitchy but that's neither here nor there, and I am astounded anew each time I venture into the extremely rich, creative mind of Mr. Neil Gaiman. He narrates his own books and really who knows better the tone implied or the necessary pivotal points to be highlighted than the Creator himself? I know that is not for everyone. Not all writers are orators to boot but Neil Gaiman has a melodic British accent that is both hypnotic and unassuming (which makes the creepy or scary bits all the more terrifying) AND he is great at varying the character voices so each character feels viable, alive. The depth of this man's imagination knows no bounds and I am always amazed at how well crafted his insanely unique worlds can be. My favorite is still Neverwhere but I LOVED this book...that is until the end which seemed a bit unsatisfying and too much like a copout. Harsh sounding? YES! But only because his work commands, attains and exceeds such high expectations. His tale's impressively woven tapestry is so beautiful that I did not protest too much even after being slightly disappointed. I was thankful to have the chance to experience this wild ride alongside each and every loveable/loatheable creepy crawly, uniquely exotic, and believably Real being within. The MC and his journey encapsulate every fiber of being young and powerless and the beauty and subsequent loss of Youth's innocence (or did he?). I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a dollop of Fancy, a large helping of Whimsy and an abundance of literary excellence.
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. The house is long gone but he finds himself drawn to the old farmhouse at the end of the road where his childhood friend lived. Lettie Hempstock wasn't an ordinary little girl and her mother and grandmother weren't ordinary women. He hasn't thought of Lettie in many, many years but as he sits by the pond, the pond Lettie claimed was an ocean, he's taken back to the past. A past so strange it's hard to believe.
I don't honestly know what to say. It took me a while to get into but even so it's still a great book from start to finish. It's creative and magical and weird and real.
I listened to the audiobook back in January, and I think I’ll let my rating stand. Then as now, what really drove up the rating at the end was Ocean, the black cat from the field. I had to kind of psych myself up to dive in, though, because I do find the opal miner’s arrival difficult to read. In some ways, I did get more out of it this time around because I was reading a written copy, although that may also just be the usual things you pick out on a second read. I’ve never understood people who refuse to reread books since as far as I’m concerned, you never read the same book twice (since you’ll never have the same experience). And good ones are like old friends.
Anyway, I like the way Gaiman portrays children much more than the typical YA approach, although this isn’t really a YA book. It’s about an adult piecing together his memories of childhood into a narrative, so who knows what that says about the reliability. I’m counting this for the “Magical Realism” square for the Halloween Bingo.