Thursday Quotables is a weekly meme hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. Every week, readers share a quote or passage from the book they’re reading that strikes them – whether it be funny or philosophical or something in between.
This week, I want to highlight beautiful quotes from Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I finished this book earlier this week and discussed my overall feelings in the review, but despite what I may think of the book overall (I’ve always had issues reading Gaiman, through no fault of his)… his writing is always beautiful. He has a way of expressing the truth in naked beauty, and I appreciate that. Collected below are some of my favorite quotes from this little novel.
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”
I love this one. It’s beautiful and so true. Children always manage to see things in a different light, with so much curiosity and joy and hope, where adults are horribly black and white. We don’t have to be, though – so why are we?
“I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.”
I loved this quote because it was something I can relate to. Every day.
“Words save our lives, sometimes.”
Words save my life often; or, at least, they move me. Out of the dark places and into the light. Words help me breathe. Is that too dramatic? I hope not, because it’s true. There’s curiosity in words, and feelings, and the sort of thing you can imagine but never quite see. For a lot of readers and writers, I think words save their lives, sometimes, too.
“Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.”
Oh boy. I wish this wasn’t true to my life, but it definitely is. I am the queen of social awkwardness, but I find myself in situations where I try to sit taller and ask myself, “Okay, in this situation, Hermione…” or something along those lines. I guess in that way, books can be guides to those too uncomfortable to be left out, but not quite right to let in.
“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than than that. They just were. Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?”
Finally, this one, because it is a question I have often asked myself. A couple years ago, at my wits end with the argument that adult who read YA are immature losers, I wrote a post about why that isn’t necessarily true. I similarly have a difficult time understanding why adults don’t want to read about smugglers and faeries – just because we know something cannot be real does not mean we should reject it.
Anyway, I love mythology too.