So I read it. And liked it. Actually I listened to it, which is better than reading it because Neil Gaiman reads it to you and he is just as good a reader as he is a writer.
But, it is not for adults. Whoever started calling this an adult novel was A) smoking crack or B) marketing. One of those.
This is a little kid story with a very PG sex scene. The main character is 7. The parts I enjoyed the most were the parts that were all but tell of Neil Gaiman’s childhood. I know its “all fictitious” but I also know that life inspires real events and that a writer’s characters are often the writer in another guise or one side of the writer’s persona. And I know there were about a dozen “coincidences” between the opening of the story and real world events that took place about 40 years ago (when the story takes place), not the least of which is the suicide in the car.
I liked the reflective parts. Especially at the end, that was very nice.
What I didn’t dig so much was the last quarter after so and so dies. I say so and so, because I am trying not to spoil it for others. It probably won’t work. Anyway, I really liked Ursula Munkton. I thought, what a great character. And then she, you know, died and I found myself not too interested with the hunger birds because to me they weren’t the main story. But were somehow still there and they became the main story. A little bit too detached from physical reality also. I am a believer that stories need to be grounded in the physical universe plane of existence. Not present day earth necessarily, but a place. Where they have gravity and lights and matter. If you stray too far from that you end up…where? Not sure. But the common ground sort of gets lost. Dream sequences are fine so long as they are sequences and not half the story.
All in all a very nice read or listen. Filled with thought provoking and philosophical tidbits. The main character is charming and very splendid to be with. Yes, splendid.The whole journey is quite enchanting.
I don’t know that I would call this a novel, though. More at novella or perhaps a display in poetics. At the end, you don’t get the “Just climbed the mountain and had big adventure” feeling you get from reading a book.
So, Points to Improve: A) more and B) older.
The best parts: The worm in the foot. Ursula Munkton torturing him and seducing his dad.
Scale Rating 10 Being the Highest: 6.5.
Recommend It: To kids.