the truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups

Two complimentary passages from The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman:

I tried to pull the dream that had upset me so to the front of my mind, but it would not come. There had been betrayal in it, I knew, and loss, and time. The dream had left me scared to go back to sleep.

…Then I walked to the window and looked out. …I was almost certain it was Old Mrs. Hempstock, although it was hard to see her face properly–walking up and down. She had a big long stick she was leaning on as she walked, like a staff. She reminded me of the soldiers I had seen on a trip to London, outside Buckingham Palace, as they marched backwards and forwards on parade.

I watched her, and I was comforted.


“…Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters. And as for grown-ups…. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” She thought for a moment. Then she smiled. “Except for Granny, of course.”

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