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Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman

Title: The Kingdom of Childhood
Author: Rebecca Coleman
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Source: Received a copy from the PR company, Media Muscle. This did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You want a gripping read.
  • You're a fan of novels by authors like Jodi Piccoult.
What's the Story?:

From "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 as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is, for Judy, only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets."

My Two Cents:

Judy McFarland is lost and watching her family fall apart. Her husband is fixated on getting his doctorate while thoroughly addicted to prescription drugs. Her daughter is at college and rebelling against her Waldorf school (sort of a liberal, whole family approach to education) upbringing. Her son is on his way to rebelling.  In the middle of the turmoil, Judy starts an affair with her son's 16 year old friend, Zach.

The Kingdom of Childhood explores this issue from different angles. Judy has had some traumatizing events in her life and admittedly those events do push Judy to take on an affair with Zach but the things that Judy is going through doesn't make it okay that she does what she does (and I think the author gets at that). An interesting aspect of this book is that it looks at the affect that the affair has on Zach, the student. It goes through all of the different phases of what he feels as the affair goes on. Out of the whole story, I think it's him that gets my sympathy. He goes through a lot and at 16, you just aren't really equipped to deal with what he's going through!

The way the book is written in itself is very interesting. The book goes back and forth between third person and first person (Judy's) point of view, which really added a sort of ominous feeling to the story. It really serves to pull the reader in!!! This is a book that will be on my mind for a long time!


  1. I think Zach was the most sympathetic character, too. Judy became so deranged -- such a shadow of her former self -- that I felt like I didn't recognize her by the end of the book. I actually just loaned my copy of this one to a friend, and we were talking about it this morning! Definitely a memorable, disturbing story.

  2. Oooh! I've been wanting to read this one! So glad you liked it - now I really can't wait to get my hands on it :)

  3. As creepy and icky as this sounds, I'm interested in reading it, LOL. I'm curious about the perspective of the 16-year-old. I used to work with sexual abuse victims and it's so complicated with the older kids who "consent" but really can't and don't really understand.

  4. You know, I think I want to read this one too. I've read reviewers' comments that range from completely irate and they really hate the book to they really liked the book. Anytime there are mixed reviews, I get very interested. But then with subject matter like this, I wonder if it makes me a weirdo for wanting to read it!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! I do think I'll give it a go...


  5. This sounds like a good one. I enjoyed reading the interview as well=very interesting.

  6. @Meg Yeah, Judy turned out to be super creepy. I almost felt myself feeling bad for the way her life turned out at first but she brought on so much herself!

  7. @Jenny The scenario is definitely creepy but it's so well written that it really pulls you in!

  8. @SweetestLittleBookworm From a lot of the other reviews that I've seen, a lot of people seem to take issue with the subject matter. Mind you, it's creepy but the author definitely isn't condoning the behavior!


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