The Marks We Leave Behind (the Ocean at the End of the Lane)

As it is well known I am a huge and unabashed fan of Neil Gaiman. I breathe for the man’s writing and imagination and sheer wit. I picked up View from The Cheap Seats — which is a nonfiction collection that I highly recommend if you’re a writer in need of inspiration — as soon as it was released in my store. So finally finishing the Ocean at the End of the Lane, I realized it has left its mark on me as much of Neil Gaiman’s work does on me and I am in for the long haul.

This review will be spoiler free as possible because I do not want to spoil this experience for anyone else, but there will be general synopsis given so if you don’t want that, I should say you remain here at the start while the rest of us travel down to the end of the Lane and into the world of Lettie Hempstock and her Ocean.

Welcome to the Cerebral Hedonist and here comes a thought…

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The main character who can only be known as “the boy” as it is told from his point of view and no one seems to want to use his name, lives on a lane in fairly rural country.

Somewhere in England…

We’re here to talk about the story, not my inability to use a map. Continue reading

When Love is Not Enough (Me Before You)

I’m a bit late to the party for this book. I read it a couple of months ago when it popped up in my bookstore on the bestseller shelf. I thought it was just usual bubblegum romance of quirky girl and cold-blooded guy. Well it is….but also isn’t.

From this point on, there are *SPOILERS* so if you have not read this book/seen this movie, I ask that you exit…

…..Still here? Alright then…

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When I started reading the Me Before You I already knew what it was about before the prologue was over. Or rather I assumed I did. I was correct for the most part right until….the end when I got what I wanted and was heartbroken over it.

The synopsis is Louisa Clark being fired from her job as a waitress, one she’s held for many years and thus left at a loss of what to do. A great part of me was ready to hate Louisa with her pickiness about jobs, but then something really resonated with me. I realize she really was an every girl. We can talk about doing whatever we can to help our families and remain financially stable, but in practice we’re actually quite picky. Add to the fact that her family does not think very much of her skills yet are quite dependent on her income and you have a situation that is becoming more and more commonplace in our society. Yet she does try hard and for that…I don’t hate Louisa. I couldn’t.

Continue reading

Mindless Self-Indulgence (In Other Words)

Disclaimer: I do not speak Italian and I have the utmost respect for Jhumpa Lahiri as a writer/storyteller. I’ve only read the English version of In Other Words so it is very possible that much of the meaning and reflection was lost in translation but since it boasts direct translation I highly doubt it.

The premise is that Lahiri has fallen in love and has harbored these feelings since 1994 since her first trip to Florence. There is no person, however. No, she has fallen into a one-sided infatuation with the Italian. Not the place, not the people, not the culture, but rather just the words. Because of this love she has taken it upon herself to learn it as a means of capturing it and holding it herself. As lessons prove not to be enough and she suffers with the inability to engage anyone with her new found love, she decides to move to Italy with her family for three years for no other desire than to immerse herself in Italian — the language not the culture. Continue reading