Monday, October 31, 2011

Alice's Review: The Kingdom of Childhood

Summary:  THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD is the story of a boy and a woman: sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother's extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts, each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved when she was only a child. But what Zach does not realize is that-- for Judy-- their relationship is only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

Review:  There are many things I can say about this novel. It is strangely creepy, slightly horrific like a car accident on the freeway you can't turn away from. Oh, there were times I had to put this novel down and walk away because the subject matter was disturbing. My biggest struggle with it is that in spite of essentially being a pedophile, I liked Judy. I liked Judy a lot. Even when I couldn't wait for her to get what was coming to her, what she deserved for this extremely inappropriate behavior, I still liked her. And that is the key to what Rebecca Coleman excels at. She took a woman of despicable behavior, made her flaws what she did and not who she was. She made her human and likable. For this reason alone you should read this novel.

The other reason is she took a subject that is taboo (and that’s putting it mildly) and created a work of art that was so engrossing, the pages practically turned themselves. I really enjoyed how she laced the novel with both first and third person accounts of Judy’s journey. The passages in Judy’s point of view were captivating. I know I keep going back to Judy’s point of view, but it’s what sold me on this novel. Ms. Coleman goes back and forth in time. From the early 60s when Judy is a small child in Germany spending time with a local boy, older and protective like a brother to her present, dissatisfied in her life and marriage. And although there were times I had no idea what was going on in Judy’s head, I had a feeling she didn’t know either. She threw her moral compass out the window and lived. And wrong as her choices were, she owned them.

I also enjoyed how well developed the support characters were. Ms. Coleman’s writing was beautiful, honest. The dialogue among the characters was spot on and realistic. The story moved along well, I had no idea how it would end. It was suspenseful, nervy, bold. I remember telling our Julie “I don’t know how Judy’s going to get hers, but she’s going to. She has to.” And boy was I surprised in the final pages.

The Kingdom of Childhood novel was a must read for me. It’s fantastically unnerving and absolutely excellent. Go pick this up today. You won’t be sorry. Creeped out, yes but not sorry.

Final Take: 4/5



  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP