Yup, another storm/typhoon/hurricane on the way. This one won’t be as bad because it won’t hit us directly, and hopefully it’ll cool down a little bit afterwards because it’s so muggy right now like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously, I had to have a towel just outside of frame while taking these pictures because I was sweating buckets. You guys are probably sick of hearing me talk about the weather all the freaking time, but I wouldn’t talk about it so much if this was the norm – I don’t remember so many storms this time last year.
Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt & Belt: thrifted, Necklace: Forever21, Flats: borrowed from my sister
It’s hard for me to review a Neil Gaiman book without gushing about how awesome it is, but I’ll try to be as objective as possible. So, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” begins when a middle-aged narrator returns to his childhood home and finds himself drawn to a neighboring farm where, as a child, he met an extraordinary girl and her equally extraordinary mother and grandmother. This sparks the recollection of strange and terrifying events that occurred when the narrator was seven years old.
Gaiman fans will find the world of the story familiar. It bears some resemblance to Coraline, and has a touch of The Graveyard Book too – the three women are named Hempstock, same as the witch in The Graveyard Book. It’s tied into common mythologies (the Mother, Maiden, Crone thing), but the details are pure Gaiman (kittens that grow in a field, anyone?)
If I have to pick one book to compare this to, I’d go with Coraline (love the book, never like the movie much because I think they made it too kid-friendly.) Actually I’d say “Ocean” is like Coraline, written from the point of view of an adult Coraline, except it’s a lot sadder. The story keeps twisting my stomach with anger and with fear for the narrator. He has to face a supernatural force near incomprehensible in its scope, yet the brilliant thing is that this threat is demonstrated in such a relatable way, kids vs. adults. Sometimes in fantasy it can be difficult to understand the protagonist’s fear when they’re facing something like dragons or demons, but here, stripped of all supernatural elements, what the narrator has to go through can definitely happen in real life, and that’s what makes it so much more terrible. I actually find the “Big Bad” at the end not as effective, because the threat is so out-there that the fear feels abstract.
I do have some quibbles though (shocking!) This book started out as a short story, and I think a short story may have been better. It’s a rich world, but it feels a little… underdone. Like the book either condenses it too much or doesn’t explore enough of it. Or maybe the fact that I keep comparing it to his kids’ books means that the part with the grown-up narrator is the problem. Would I like it better as a kids’ book? Probably not. The grown-up part adds a heartbreaking realistic note to an otherwise completely fantastical tale, I just wish it could make me feel as much as the rest of the book does.
So, yeah. “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is not perfect, but it’s good enough to keep me reading it all in one sitting. It won’t tip the scale one way or the other on how you feel about Neil Gaiman’s writing, but it’s a nice little story.
Shirt: Forever21, Necklace: hand-me-down, Skirt, Belt & Flats: thrifted
I was assigned as the secretary for the thesis committee at school today. I’ve never been a part of any thesis committee except on the other side of it (back in grad school we called it “the firing squad”), so I stumbled a bit at what to do. I did ask my boss, twice, but she was never very specific. That’s the problem with me though – I tend to micro-manage, so I have to have very specific details on my job, otherwise I’d flounder. Well, I have to remember to not be afraid and ask for specifics next time.
Anyway, I skipped the “Shoe” challenge of the We Love Target link-up because I have no shoes from Target. Not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that two of my local Targets are right next to Payless… (Actually I did buy my first pair of flats from Target but they went to Goodwill when I moved.) So here’s my “favorite score” from Target – this blouse. One that I can wear now anyway. My absolutely favorite Target score is my mustard cardigan, which, again, no. Not in Hanoi in late May.
Blouse: Target, Brooch: vintage
Skirt, belt, loafers: thrifted
Another not-so-great outfit, but I don’t have to go into the office today, and honestly, it’s getting so hot here I don’t even feel like trying anymore. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to reading Sandman.
T-shirt: Walmart, Skirt & Flats: thrifted, Belt: Forever21
Sorry for the crappy indoor photos, but it’s crazy hot and muggy, and I’d rather be inside where it’s cool, even though the light is not very good, than to be outside sweating buckets and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Anyway, today’s color for the Pantone challenge is “linen”, which sounds easy, but as it turns out, this skirt is the only linen-colored thing I have. I’d once wanted to dye it mustard yellow, but in the end decided not to because the lining is nylon. Good call, right?
Dress worn as top: Sonoma (thrifted), Skirt, Flats, Belt: thrifted, Brooch: vintage