Everyone’s been reading this book, so I’ll keep this review short. I will say that while this was not my first Neil Gaiman experience (I’ve also read American Gods and The Graveyard Book), I think this was the one that caught my attention the most.
With the unnamed narrator, Gaiman explores the scary terrain of childhood, with its lurking monsters and shadows, the uncertainty and the terror of being a child in a very adult world. The prose is breathtaking, and there was more than one passage where my eyes remained glued to the page, greedily absorbing the next sentence. I think the sense of time is well-expressed, and I felt the parts where memory, time, and remembrance converge is very accurate–after all, are our memories reliable? Can we recall our childhoods with anything resembling accuracy? How true are the impressions that we retain?
While this is by no means a children’s story, Gaiman retells the travails and pathways of childhood in a way that is poignant, painful and memorable. It is just the kind of tale for someone who looks back on the world with the longing of a child.