Neil Gaiman is an author I never would have found out about if it wasn’t for booktube and tumblr bookblogs – and I’m so glad I did, and so thankful to the book community for it.
“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
The narrator is a big fan of books and stories, but when he’s in the middle of a story himself, he can’t help to be a little scared. It’s lucky that he has Lettie Hempstock, Mrs Hempstock and Old Mrs Hempstock to look after him.
The Narrator – A boy of seven. We never learn his name. He enjoys books, stories and food. Doesn’t have many friends.
Ursula Monkton – A flea who pretends to be a pretty lady so she can watch the kids.
Mommy and daddy – Daddy shouts and mommy does charitable work for children in Africa. Daddy has a relationship with Ursula Monkton
Lettie Hempstock – A girl of eleven. She has been eleven for a while. Her duck pond is an ocean.
Mrs Hempstock and Old Mrs Hempstock – Lives at the end of the lane, on Hempstock farm at with Lettie. Takes care of the boy. Old Mrs Hempstock remembers the Big Bang.
To be honest, I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced by this book. I enjoyed it very, very much, but for me, there was something lacking. The world building was pretty thin, but then again, everything could just be inside the mind of a seven year old with a wild-spun fantasy, and there might not have been a world at all, besides the one of our own.
And that is exactly what I find so interesting about the book. Did it happen, or was it just a silly make-believe game the narrator and Lettie played when they were young. It certainly could seem that way, but it could also have happened.
I absolutely adored the writing style, and Gaimans knack for knowing exactly how a seven-year-old boy would act and approach people. Of course, he doesn’t like Ursula, because what seven year old would like the lady that is prettier than his mommy, and lays her arm on daddy?
I strongly suspect that my perception of the story is vastly different from if say, my sister who is nine would have read the book. She would see it as another monster story – just as most nine-year-olds would – while we as teenagers and adults will see the more complex parts of the story. This is what makes it a brilliant book for me, and that is why I would recommend it to so many.
I do realize that this is a very short review, but there is not so much to say about the book. I was glad I went into this book blind, and I would strongly suggest any potential readers to do the same.