- I should write this review as soon as possible so I can new people to find my website!
- I still haven't figured this book out so I don't feel like I can write the book review yet.
- I wasn't as fond of this book as I was hoping to be, and I don't really want to write the review because I generally love Neil Gaiman's books.
- Maybe the book was about ______! No, that's dumb. I shouldn't have read that blog first.
You get the idea. It's been a battle. Maybe you're wondering which blog I shouldn't have read first, it's the post Amanda Palmer (Neil Gaiman's wife) wrote: "A Book & Marriage Review".
we were chatting about the book, i asked him a question about some of the symbolism in the story….and he stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked at me.
and he filled in the blanks, and connected the dots for me.
i’d missed it completely.
i loved him so much in that moment.
Anyway, so here is a breakdown of the book:
A young boy (who is never named, but you get the impression that Neil Gaiman is writing about himself as a child) meets the Hempstocks, the family that lives in the farm across the lane. They are what humans would call "magical" though the Hempstocks themselves would probably disagree. The youngest Hempstock, Lettie, shows our main character around the farm. She shows him the pond that is actually an ocean. She tells him to not let go of her hand. He does. What follows is a flea infestation, but not in the way you're thinking. People start getting what they want, which can only lead to trouble. What follows is dark and sad and fantastic. It's really hard to write a synopsis of this book because there is such fantasy involved, and there are things you need to know before you know other things. I can't tell you those things because you have to learn them at certain points. Thus is the difficulty in the synopsis.
Let's move on to the review:
My favorite Neil Gaiman books are "American Gods" and "Neverwhere". I like the fantasy and mythology in the stories. I like how stark American Gods is, and I like how fanciful and dark Neverwhere is. I would not count this book in my favorites. It is a fantasy book, but the story is too real. Fantasy aside, the book is about an angry father, a crumbling marriage and the boy who escapes by reading books. I think the reason I didn't love this book was that it was too real.
The writing, as always, was beautiful and efficient. His descriptions are unique and wonderful. The characters were terrifying and real. The book is very good. Why am I so reluctant to review it?
I think the reason I'm avoiding this is because I'm afraid Neil Gaiman is going to call me a twit.
I don't want to make guesses about what this book is really about because I'm probably wrong. Usually I am okay with books with meaning because I think that authors enjoy hearing what other people think their story is about. After reading Amanda Palmer's blog, I know there is one thing that this book is about, and I'm probably wrong about it.
I don't mind be wrong. I really don't. It's a learning experience. The problem I have is not knowing what "right" is. I know I might be wrong, I have no issues with that, but I will probably never know what Neil Gaiman told Amanda Palmer that the book was actually about. That drives me crazy. Being wrong is a learning experience. But you can't learn if you don't know why it was wrong.
I would definitely recommend this book to other people. If you're looking for a good, engaging read, this is for you. If you don't mind not knowing what the book is actually about, this book is for you. If you were once a young child that escaped into books, this book is for you. I can't deny that this book is excellent, not that I would want to deny it. I just can't be as excited about this book as others might.