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Book Reflection : Ocean at the end of the lane

July 7, 2014

Last month, Ocean at the End of the lane by Neil Gaiman was my book club book. However this is not a genre that I would normally read and I must admit that I skipped a large section in the middle. So this is not a proper book review.

Nevertheless I would like to reflect on a couple of things. I suspect my dislike of these types of books is the subtle Christian spiritually that sneaks into the story. At one point the young girl is trying to take authority over an evil presence and asks it for its name which it does not give her. Consequently the girl was not able to gain ascendancy over it. Naming is important in Scripture and Jesus was known to ask demons for their name. However he was told their names and did gain the ascendancy (Mark 5:9).

Towards the end of the story the girl sacrifices her own life for the sake of my friend. However we discover she is not a human girl at all but some kind of mythical being, so she is not really dead but has to go away for a long time to be healed. Again this reflects Scripture but does so in a subtly negative way. Jesus sacrificed his life for his friends. It would be easy to surmise that this author does not think Jesus was truly human, that Jesus didn’t really die and that he has gone away for a long time to be healed. There is nothing new in these ideas as they have been circulating in theological circles for centuries. The truth is Jesus was not a mythical being; he really did die and furthermore was resurrected and lives forever but not physically on the earth.

I didn’t like the parallels that I found in this book with Scripture. Yet I suspect the author would either deny them or be unaware that they exist.

by Susan Barnes
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Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith