Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother.
He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
I decided to pick up a Neil Gaiman book after I realized he wrote Stardust (a favorite movie of mine). I expected it to be a little out there, which it is. That doesn’t normally bother me. I’m out with “out there.” I just didn’t connect with the book though — I started it, then had to set it down for some reason and didn’t remember to pick it up again for a few days.
It’s not that the story wasn’t interesting or unique; we just didn’t click. I especially had a hard time once Ursula appeared. I have a hard time reading books where adults mistreat children, so the book became difficult for me to read. At that point, I skimmed ahead to the end to see how the books ends.
If you enjoy darker fantasy novels, you’ll probably like this book. It was just a little too dark for me and I missed the reader/character connection.