I'd been wanting to read this book since I discovered that it was going to be coming out. It did not disappoint. I was addicted the moment I started reading. (Well, technically I was hooked when I failed to resist the temptation to read the excerpt contained in "How to Talk to Girls at Parties".) It makes me very glad that with e-readers, there's no more "wait until your local book store restocks if something sells out".
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a very personal feeling, very contained story - it focuses on one memory from one man's life. And of course, the blend of realism and fantasy was handled amazingly. The story felt like such a children's fairy tale at times that I'd be shocked when Gaiman suddenly threw a more adult scene into the mix - it left me feeling incredibly uncomfortable, and disturbed when these sudden tonal shifts happened.
The shift that got me the most was when the narrator was sneaking out to go to Lottie for help, while his captor was distracted. That scene with the "distraction"...GAH!!! *rushes to find bucket of mental bleach*
I did find myself getting distracted by the various books the narrator kept reading. "Pansy Saves the School" cracked me up, and I found myself wishing I could read those books, as well. That's right. I want to read a book from a book. No, I don't know what's wrong with me.
The book's ending was very Gaiman. It reminded me a lot of Neverwhere - the story might be concluded, but the world it exists in keeps moving on, with more stories happening just outside your line of vision.