The Ocean at the End of the Lane is most definitely a Neil Gaiman book. It’s also like a Pratchett book - a bit less humor and a bit more beauty in its sentences.
It plays on myths and real life. And on childhood - it’s not a coming-of-age story, it’s a story about childhood with all its dangers: parents, siblings, friends and nannies who are really daemons from another world. Well, at least another part of the world.
This book made me feel good, through all the horrible things that happened in it. Made me feel right at home. It is - to me - much less dark than Coraline, because it’s so much more mythical. The Ocean at the End of the Lane plays on myths and archetypes, making me feel safe and at home though all its darkness (opposed to Coraline, which felt right, too, but muuuuch more scary).
I loved the wise Lettie, and her mother, and of course her grandmother (and the maid-mother-crone dynamic of course). I loved the protagonist, a young boy, who deals with life as well as he can. I loved his family – it all felt very, very real. But then, the best fairytales are.