As a writer there are very few books I wish I could have written. My head is so full of my own ideas and nonsense that the voice of others isn’t something that interests me. Instead I dissect, tear open story like some mad doctor as I read and analyse its various organs. I’m sympathetic as I read and cut, I just want to know how things work.

This is something common to a lot of writers and it means they read with a different set of eyes. I find it hard to review these days, I’m too connected to the process of writing to ever be fully objective. And so books I read usually get a better than average rating and no commentary.
But sometimes a book comes along that kicks you in the gut, a book that makes you look at your own work and feel as if you know nothing about the process or art of writing.
The Ocean At The End of The Lane is on one level quite a simple book. You feel it could have been one of Gaiman’s children’s stories and be held up there with Coroline and The Graveyard Book. Gaiman has always been a little dark, but only so much as you know it will be alright in the end. This is different. The threats here are not so much the supernatural and fantastical (although they exist) but the real, and in doing so it moves the master craftsman up another notch.
I ended up finishing the book in tears, not so much for the protagonist but for myself. Readers bring their own baggage to stories and it was only at the end I realised how much baggage I’d brought of mine.
It’s a story about childhood, about loss of innocence, about relationships with fathers but much more I found myself connecting with the themes of friendship and sacrifice.
You probably won’t find a lot of people talking about the story because in many ways the story is superfluous. Instead it’s about the themes and the connections to our own pasts, whether in childhood or later.
It is a simple novel made of an infinite number of perfections. I am in awe; I will endeavour to write better.