Tag Archives: Magic Realism

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

Review (Amazon): An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

My Review (Spoilers):

Executive Summary: Emotional

This was my book pick for 2016 for “book into movie”. However the movie release continued to get pushed back so we switched it with our book swap and did it as the last book of 2016. I also loaned the book out so I needed to get it back before finishing the review which is why it’s a few months late. Oops.

First, if you get this book, be sure you get the one with pictures. Seriously though, it is worth it. The book is touted as a children’s book but it is actually fairly dark and is about serious issues. I don’t think a single person in my book club finished the book with dry eyes.

Conor keeps having this nightmare about a monster. He wakes up but keeps hearing his name whispered. And when he looks out his window, he sees the giant yew tree that is planted in the church cemetery beside their house turn into a giant monster. It comes up to Conor’s window, but he’s not scared of the monster.

When he gets up in the morning, he thinks it was just his nightmare again like it always is, but when he steps out of bed, his whole room is covered with yew leaves. He sweeps them up and hides them in the trash as he’s getting ready. His mom -er- mum comes down and we realize that something’s wrong with her. She’s in a new round of treatments. And she tells Conor that his grandma is going to come stay with them because a kid of 13 shouldn’t have to take care of everything.

At school, he’s bullied by the teacher’s pet Harry. It started right around the time Conor’s mum was diagnosed. Not immediately, but afterwards. When he started having the nightmare with the screaming and falling. The bullying continues and this time, Conor’s friend Lily steps up for him, telling the teacher that they were making fun of Conor’s mother, but he denies it and she gets detention. When Conor’s mother was first diagnosed, she called Lily’s mother, who told Lily and then eventually everyone knew. And they started treating him differently.

When he gets home from school, the yew tree is just a tree. But in the middle of the night, it visits him again. Always at 12:07. This time he tells Conor to come outside and that he will tell him 3 stories. And at the end, Conor will tell the monster a story of his own–the truth, his truth. Conor thinks this is about the stupidest thing for a monster to do, but he’s also scared to tell his story.

Conor’s grandma arrives and she’s a bit…cold. Everything about her irritates Conor. She tells Conor that he can come live with her, but he angrily denies that there will be a need for that.

The monster arrives that night again at 12:07 for the first story. Long ago, a kingdom was on that very land. The king remarries a young bride, but then he suddenly grows ill and dies. His son is still too young so the queen rules alone, and rumors start that she is a witch and she killed the king with magic powers. As the prince grows closer to the throne, the queen has grown fond of ruling and tries to entice the prince to marry her. Alas, he has fallen in love with a farm girl, and one night, he and his love run away. They fall asleep under the (same) yew tree, and when the prince awakes, the princess is dead. The prince races back to the kingdom telling everyone that the queen has murdered his bride. The villagers break into the castle to get the queen who is to be burned alive. BUT it turns out that it was not the queen. It was the prince. He sacrificed his beloved to rid the kingdom of the queen who was actually a witch. The yew tree knew what had happened, and before the villagers could burn the queen at the stake, he saves her and transports her to another land where she could do no harm. The prince ruled til the end of his days and was much loved.

Conor is enraged! What does the yew monster mean that the prince killed his own bride. Surely the villagers would have believed him without such drastic measures. And why would the yew monster save the evil queen!? She was bad. No one was the good guy in the story.

When Conor gets up in the morning, there’s a foot tall sapling growing out of his bedroom floor. He gets a knife and cuts out the tree. His day at school is more of the same. Lily apologizes because he deserves special treatment. Harry bullies him. The teachers pity him. And then he comes home to his grandmother who tells him that his father is coming to visit from America. He never sees his father. Why’s he coming? His mum is going back to the hospital but she assures him she’s going to be fine.

When his mum goes to the hospital, he goes to stay with his grandma. The yew tree doesn’t visit him for a few days. Maybe it doesn’t know where he is. His dad arrives because his mum asked him to. But he won’t say why. And Conor isn’t coming to live with him because his place in America is small and his wife is (paraphrasing) terrible. And he can’t stay long because Americans don’t get much vacation (preach!) so by the time Conor is done hanging out with him, he’s just so mad. He’s so mad, he destroys his grandma’s heirloom clock and the time is stuck, of course, at 12:07 so the yew monster appears for story #2.

Over a hundred years ago, the country had become industrialized. But there are still some who are clinging to the past, in particular, the apothecary. He made ancient medicines from trees and berries and plants. But as society changed, people started using him less, and he grew bitter. The parson (of the church beside Conor’s home) had two daughters who he loved very much. The apothecary asked the parson if he could cut down the ancient yew tree for his medicines and the parson said no. In fact, he went so far as to preach against the apothecary and turn the townspeople against him. But then one day, his daughters fell sick, but no modern doctor could help. The parson swallows his pride and asks the apothecary. The apothecary asks why he should help the parson. The parson says he will give up the yew tree. He will send all his parishioners to the apothecary. He will give up everything he believes to cure his daughters. And so, the apothecary tells him that there is nothing that he can do to help the parson, and that night, both his daughters die. And that night, the yew monster tears the parson’s house from its foundation.

Conor is furious! The parson’s house! But the apothecary is the bad one. He let the children die. No, the yew monster says. The parson was selfish and cared only about himself. He should have given up the yew tree from the beginning.

Conor and the monster begin tearing down the parson’s house in the story, but once the story is over, Conor realizes he has completely destroyed his grandmother’s home. When he realizes what he has done, he’s in shock, and then his grandmother pulls into the driveway. When she sees what he has done, she screams. But she’s not mad. She comes through the room and knocks the only remaining upright thing down.

No one yells at him. He goes through school and no one really talks to him. He doesn’t even get his beating from Harry. It’s like he’s invisible. He goes to visit his mum in the hospital, and she tells him they are going to try one more thing–medicine made from the yew tree.

His dad has to leave but before he goes, he tries to tell Conor that his mum is very very sick and the medicine is probably not going to work. Stories don’t always have happy endings. Conor has learned this from the yew monster, but he still thinks that the situation is too coincidental for the medicine not to work. When the yew monster appears that night, Conor asks him if he will heal his mum. The monster say “If your mother can be healed, then the yew tree will do it” The monster leaves without a story.

At school the next day, he gets cornered by Harry and his friends. But instead of beating him up, Harry tells Conor, “I know longer see you” and walks past him. It’s 12:06. The yew monster appears for the 3rd tale.

There once was an invisible man. Not really invisible, but it was just that people had gotten used to not seeing him. And so he decides that he will make them see him. Conor asks how–by calling for a monster! And he reaches his giant monster hand out and knocks Harry across the floor. The monster pummels Harry, and at the end, the headmistress calls Conor to the office. The entire cafeteria saw Conor completely attack Harry. Like usual, he’s not being punished. The entire school now sees him, but he’s more alone than ever.

A few days pass. He doesn’t see the monster. He does make up with Lily, but just at that moment, his grandma appears at school. His mum’s treatment isn’t working. Conor is furious and tells his grandma that he has to go back to his home, the one with the yew tree. She is confused, but she agrees, and she drops him off and then heads back to the hospital. There Conor confronts the yew monster about why he didn’t heal his mother. The monster says it’s time for Conor’s story, and suddenly they are in his nightmare. The one he doesn’t tell anyone about.

He’s in a forest clearing and on one side, there’s a cliff. His mum is standing near the cliff edge, and he yells that she needs to get out of there. She doesn’t listen despite his pleas. A cloud which turns into two large fists raises over the cliff and grab her and pull her over the edge. Conor runs toward her and catches her just as she falls over. She begs him to hold on, but she’s slipping. She’s getting heavier, and the monster appears to tell him that it’s time for the fourth tale. Conor wants him to help, but the yew monster tells him that it’s time for the truth, and his mother falls from his grasp.

But that’s not the end. The monster says he must tell the truth. That he had let her go. Conor argues that he didn’t, but the monster says he cannot leave until he admits it, and finally he does. The monster asks why, and Conor says that he just wants it all to be over.

They leave the nightmare and are back at his house. Conor is devastated that he has said such a horrible thing about his mum who he loves so much. But the monster says that it is just a thought. It wasn’t an action. Conor is exhausted and falls asleep under the yew.

He awakes to his grandmother screaming, trying to find him. When she finally does, they race back to the hospital. On the way, she tells Conor that she knows that they haven’t always gotten along very well, but she tells him that they do have one thing in common. They both love his mum.

They arrive to the hospital in time, and the monster is there too. It’s close to midnight. The monster tells Conor to speak the truth. He tells his mother “I don’t want you to go” and she tells him that she knows. He puts his arm around her and when 12:07 arrives, he knows that he can finally let her go.

Verdict: 4.5 stars

This book is really special. It’s imaginative. It’s happy, funny, sad. The characters are all so incredibly believable. I would recommend this book to everyone from about late junior high on. Yes, it has pictures. No it’s not for children. I absolutely loved it.





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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker

Review (Amazon):  A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.  When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

My Review (Spoilers!): This review has some big spoilers at the end, so if you do want to read the book, you might refrain from reading my review!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Executive Summary: Odd

So this was our romance/love story for this year’s book club, and I really thought it had a lot of potential. It’s a lot different than the standard story from this genre, and it had an unfamiliar setting. However, at the end of the book, I was left scratching my head about things.

Julia, a young professional lawyer, decides to take a sabbatical from her job to figure out what happened to her father. She grew up in New York City like her mother, but her father grew up in Burma. One day he up and left his family, his trail running cold in Bangkok. Her mother didn’t know anything of her father’s childhood, and Julia decides to see what she can find out. Her father was a lawyer, and by the time he disappeared, he and Julia’s mother did not get along well.

Over the next four years, nothing turns up of her father. Her mother one day sends a package of some remaining items of her father’s. Julia looks through them, and finds an envelope addressed to Mi Mi, in Kalaw, Burma from 1955. It’s a love letter, and the first key to the puzzle. When she tells her mother she is leaving, her mother is annoyed. She doesn’t understand what Julia expects to find, and she is bitter. She tells Julia that her father never wanted to marry her, and that he left her (and them) long before he physically did. Julia decided to go anyway.

When Julia gets to Kalaw (a very long and difficult journey), she meets an old man named U Ba at the tea house. He claims to know her father and begins to tell Julia his tale.

Tin Win (Julia’s father) was born to very superstitious parents. His mother had watched her brother die as a child and went to the astrologer regularly to seek guidance. Tin Win was born on a very superstitious day. Following his birth, bad things began to happen, and eventually, his parents sought the astrologer. The astrologer told them that the child will bring great sorrow to his parents. Not long after, Tin Win’s father died in a work accident, and his mother, knowing that she could not handle any more sorrow, left the boy. Eventually a neighbor, Su Kyi, comes to rescue him and moves into his house to look after him. He’s a strange boy, not having any friends, but spending most of his time playing outside. But over time, his eyesight begins to deteriorate.

Su Kyi takes him to the monks as she has a good friendship with the head monk, U May. She asks him what to do, and he suggests that Tin Win stay for a few weeks with the monks. During that time, he learns to deal with his blindness, letting his other senses develop so that he can manage in the world. He’s a good student but has no friends. He begins to develop extraordinary hearing, but he cannot identify the sounds he hears. He asks Su Kyi to investigate, but she can never get him the info he wants. And then one day at the monastery, he hears something new–a heart beat. He goes to identify the source, and he finds a girl. He speaks to her briefly, and then her mother calls her away. Her name is Mi Mi.

Eventually he finds her again at the town market, and he asks her to help him identify a sound. She agrees but she needs his help to put her on his back to investigate that the sound he is hearing is of an unhatched chick still in its shell. Mi Mi needs help because she cannot stand, nor walk, on her own due to a birth defect. Tin Win continues to meet her every market day, and they develop a symbiotic relationship–he is her legs, and she is his eyes. Over the years, it developed into the most intense love that Mi Mi’s parents and Su Kyi could even imagine.

But one day, Tin Win’s uncle, U Saw arrives from Rangoon. He volunteers to take Tin Win to a doctor in Rangoon to help restore his sight. He goes to see Mi Mi before he leaves, and they have a romantic encounter. He leaves with his uncle, who is only helping Tin Win because he believes it will help his own luck in business. Tin Win’s sight is repaired relatively easily as he had cataracts. He writes to Mi Mi every day, and she writes about the same, but his uncle intercepts both sets of letters before they reach their rightful owner. The surgery has helped U Saw’s luck, so he wonders what else he can do to boost his luck, and he doesn’t want this juvenile love to get in his way. He enrolls Tin Win in school where he excels. Following that, U Saw sends Tin Win to New York for college.

He then continues on to law school, and then is pressured into marriage by Julia’s mother. They have two children–Julia and her brother. Mi Mi continued her life in Kalaw, becoming a sort of astrologer herself. Julia doesn’t understand U Ba and his decision to quit university and return home to his mother who was growing old. She doesn’t understand why her father didn’t just disregard U Saw and go back to Kalaw for Mi Mi. U Ba claims that it is just a different culture. She learns that U Saw died in 1958, a chance for her father to come back, but by then, her father, for reasons unknown on his end, was already married, and her brother was about to be born.

U Ba tells her that her father returned there, to find Mi Mi, and when he arrives at her house, she is on her death bed. She has been waiting for him. He crawls into bed with her, and when the doctor finds them the following morning, they are both dead. Per the time and culture, the two lovers were burned side by side on separate pyres. Julia is not prepared for the news, but she still wants to see where her father and Mi Mi grew up and where they died. They happen to arrive on the anniversary of her father’s death, which has become a sort of celebration in Kalaw for the two long lost lovers. She learns that U Ba is her half-brother–the product of the romantic night that her father and Mi Mi had before he left for Rangoon. They attend the celebration together and the book ends.

Verdict: 3 stars

I wanted to read this book because Burma is a country which has been so shut off for so long. I thought it would be an interesting glimpse into a place that would be unfamiliar. It was, but in a way that I didn’t understand. The timeline of the book is very unusual as well because at the time when Julia would have supposedly been visiting, Burma was under fierce military rule which most likely would have deterred her from going, but this aspect wasn’t mentioned in the book whatsoever. Also, I just hated how weirdly fairy tale it was. Tin Win and Mi Mi–a love story so strong that he married another but yet they die together and their story is celebrated each year with a holiday. It’s baffling.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/9e3/45106722/files/2015/01/img_1022.jpgSummary (Amazon):  Neil Gaiman’s intent was simple: to write a short story. What he ended up with instead was The Ocean at the of the Lane–his first adult novel since Anansi Boys came out in 2005, and a narrative so thoughtful and thrilling that it’s as difficult to stop reading as it was for Gaiman to stop writing. Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven-year-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherwordly adventure that could only come from Gaiman’s magical mind. Childhood innocence is tested and transcended as we see what getting between ancient, mystic forces can cost, as well as what can be gained from the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating tale that is equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky.

My Review (Spoilers!):

Executive Summary: magical

I came about this book due to a Christmas gifting malfunction. We ordered some books for my sister-in-law for Christmas, and when they didn’t arrive, we ordered replacements. And Murphy’s law, we eventually received both sets, so we kept one.  This was one of the books. I have read exactly one Neil Gaiman book before (Stardust) which I wasn’t overly impressed by. I have wanted to read more of his as I know he is very well-liked, and I wanted to figure out what I was missing! This one I really enjoyed! Also the book has a dedication that says “For Amanda, who wanted to know”. So maybe he was talking to me? 🙂

The book begins with an adult man (unnamed throughout the book so I’m going to refer to him as “TN”–the narrator) returning to his hometown for a funeral. He has a bit of time before going to his sister’s house, so he kills a little time first by driving by the location of the house where he grew up before heading, somewhat subconsciously, to the Hempstock’s farm. Upon arriving, he meets Mrs. Hempstock, and she offers him some tea. He asks if Lettie, his childhood friend, is there, but Mrs. Hempstock says she isn’t, so he asks if he can go sit at the duck pond. Mrs. Hempstock is fine with it.

He heads down to the pond, and he remembers that Lettie always called it her ocean. And suddenly, an ocean of memories of childhood returns to him.

Shortly after his seventh birthday (which no one came to), the South African opal miner boarder who his parents were hosting after their luck had changed, stole their Mini Cooper and committed suicide in the back of it. They found the car on a dead end road near Hempstock’s farm. (At the beginning of the book, we meet the miner when he accidentally run s over the narrator’s kitten. The black kitten named Fluffy that he had gotten for his birthday was now replaced by a mean orange tomcat the miner called Monster. So I didn’t feel that bad about the miner committing suicide.) Lettie Hempstock, a little older than TN, comes down to the scene of the accident and tells the police and TN’s father that the boy can come stay at their house until they are done with the necessary paperwork.

He goes to their farmhouse, and meets Lettie, Mrs. Hempstock, and Old Mrs. Hempstock. They know more about the accident than he does, including the words that were on the note in the miner’s pocket, confirming that he had committed suicide due to gambling debts. The older women suggest that Lettie take TN to the pond where she tells him that it is really an ocean that they came across from the old country when she was just a baby. In the pond/ocean, they find a dead fish, which Lettie assures is very unusual. She guts the fish and finds that it had died from eating a sixpence, which she gives to TN. His father returns for him, and they return home.

The following day, TN’s mom tells him that he has won £25. Later that day, the gardener finds a jar full of ancient coins in the vegetable garden. TN goes to bed happy as he has more money that he ever has. He awakes choking and pulls a shilling out of his throat. He goes outside, and his sister yells at him for throwing coins at her and her friends. (He and his sister don’t really get along well.) He’s confused and begins to walk down his driveway. Just anywhere to get away. And Lettie is at the end of his driveway waiting for him. He tells her about the weird occurrences and she tells him that someone is trying to give people money, but they are doing it badly. It has to do with the opal miner somehow. Lettie invites TN over for breakfast. Old Mrs. Hempstock examines TN’s shilling, and despite the fact that it’s dated 1912, she insists that it is brand new. Lettie takes TN to go find “her”, bind “her”, and send “her” back to sleep. It seems like all the Hempstocks are old as time, but the reader never really learns anything too specific.

Lettie uses some sort of divining rod to find her. TN is instructed to not let go of Lettie’s hand under any circumstance. Of course, he’s a 7 year old boy, so when the huge ragged sort-of woman appeared in a storm and throws something toward them, TN catches it. Lettie, who has been trying to get the woman to reveal her name, knocks it out of his hand, but a pain has already appeared in TN’s foot (he doesn’t tell Lettie). Lettie continues singing her binding song, and at the end, the storm has died, so they head home considering it a success.

(This is not important to the story itself but I seriously wish this existed. On the way back to Lettie’s farm, TN sees a field of what appears like furry snakes. Lettie encourages him to pull out one, and it’s a kitten! A FIELD OF KITTENS! Squeeeee!!!)

When he arrives home, TN inspects his foot. There’s a small line and a hole. Using tweezers, he pulls a giant worm out of the hole in his foot (gross) and puts it down the drain. The following day, his mother announces that she has a new job, and TN and his sister are going to be watched by their new boarder, Ursula Monkton. When TN sees Ursula, he realizes she is the human form of the raggedy woman that he and Lettie encountered in the forest. TN’s sister loves her new friend Ursula, but Ursula has it in for TN. TN wants to go speak to Lettie, but Ursula forbids them from going outside the grounds. Every time he tries to sneak away, she catches him. He knows that he needs to talk to the Hempstocks, but he doesn’t know how to contact them, especially while Ursula is turning his entire family against him and monitoring his every move. She begins seducing TN’s dad, who becomes hypnotized of sorts by her and nearly drowns TN in the bathtub.

Finally one evening, TN realizes that she has some sort of mind connection with him due to being inside him (apparently she was the worm in his foot). He carefully sneaks out of his room and heads toward the Hempstock’s all the while sending thoughts that he is in his bedroom so as not to alert Ursula. She figures it out just as he is stepping onto the Hempstock’s property, and they know she is off to alert his parents. They quickly devise a plan to “snip and cut” TN’s garment, and Old Mrs. Hempstock begins. Shortly thereafter, TN’s parents arrive, but Old Mrs. Hempstock finishes her snip and cut just in time, so they forget why they stormed over to find TN, and they allow him to stay at the Hempstock’s.

Old Mrs. Hempstock removes the hole in his foot, and they begin preparations to get rid of Ursula. Lettie has collected a plethora of random items that she plans to use to drop around to contain Ursula so she can’t escape and terrorize a larger amount of people. She and TN go to see Ursula to give her one last chance to go home on her own accord, but Ursula likes where she is now. She’s making people happy, especially TN’s dad, and she doesn’t want to go. They know what Ursula is  (a flea), and there is another creature (a varmint) out there that she is afraid of, so they decide to summon these creatures to send her home. Ursula becomes nervous and starts to try to return home through the hole that the Hempstocks removed from TN’s foot. But she doesn’t want to go without TN. As she tries to take him with her, the varmints arrive and devour her. But once the varmints have finished, they won’t leave until also devouring TN.

Lettie tells TN to stay in the fairy ring that surrounds the tree in his backyard, while she figures out what to do. This time, TN obeys her. A variety of people appear to try to seduce him out of the ring–the opal miner, his sister, his father, Ursula, even Lettie–but none of them will step inside the ring, so he knows that they aren’t real. The real Lettie eventually returns with a bucket of water from her ocean. She instructs TN to step inside it and when he does, he realizes it is more than an ocean. Inside the ocean, he could breathe, and he knew everything about everything. The ocean in the bucket was attached to the actual ocean so when he finally, reluctantly, surfaced, he’s back at the Hempstock’s. Eventually the varmints return for TN and begin tearing out pieces of the world, leaving nothing behind. TN realizes that if he doesn’t sacrifice himself, the entire world will be destroyed. He runs off the Hempstock’s protected property, and is thrown to the ground. But not by the varmints, by Lettie trying to protect him, and she is severely injured by the varmints. Her cries awake Old Mrs. Hempstock from her slumber, and she sends the varmints home.

Lettie needs to recover, so she is placed in her ocean to heal, and TN is returned home. His mother tells him that Ursula had to leave due to family issues, and Mrs. Hempstock tells them that Lettie is going to Australia to be with her father. TN seems to have a vague memory that that isn’t what happened, but he can’t seem to recall exactly what happened.

He’s awakened from his memory as Mrs. Hempstock appears with a sandwich. He asks her why he came there, and she says that he came to get away like he always does. He says he hasn’t been there since he was a child, but she assures him that he has been back before. He came back once when he was twenty-four with two young children, and he was scared. He came again when he was in his thirties and told her about his dreams. He doesn’t remember either time, but she tells him that it’s easier that way. She tells him that Lettie is finally almost healed, and he thanks the ocean (Lettie) for saving his life. As they are walking away so that TN can head to the funeral, he has already begun to forget. He tells Mrs. Hempstock to tell Lettie hello from him next time she writes from Australia.

Verdict: 4 stars

This book is short, but there is no fluff. Every word has a purpose. Even though I didn’t have quite as exciting of a childhood as the narrator, I think that it is easy to relate to this story. We all have memories that reappear when we find ourselves in the situation where the memories were created. We also all had situations that as children seemed magical, but to any adult would be simple and foolish. But, there’s also a realization that grown-ups aren’t really all that different from children. “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. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” As I’ve grown older, I absolutely believe this. The only thing that I felt was a little lacking in the book was that I never felt fully immersed in the story like I sometimes do with other fantasy stories. However, I am really glad that I gave Gaiman another shot.



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