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Land of Decoration, The: A Novel

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  2,541 ratings  ·  495 reviews
Ten-year-old Judith McPherson is a believer. She sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Where others might see rubbish, Judith finds possibility and traces of the divine.

But at school Judith’s difference marks her only for persecution at the hands of her classmates. And lately, even at home she struggles to find connection in a house filled with relics of a mother sh
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Published August 7th 2012 by Brilliance Audio (first published 2011)
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Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: Very intriguing plot captured my interest.

This is a tough book to review. I loved parts of it and disliked other parts of it. Mainly, I adored the main character, 10yo Judith, in whose voice the narrative is written. She is naive and not always a reliable narrator but we are given events from her point of view as she sees them happen. I read the book very quickly over two days and had a hard time putting the book down. Parts of it were just lovely, other parts I heartily disa
Ian Young
The Land of Decoration is a first novel told in the voice of a young girl who has been brought up as a member of a religious sect; Grace McCleen is a young writer who was herself brought up in a similar environment. Of course, most authors draw deeply on personal life experiences as they write, not surprising since writing about events and circumstances you know is likely to be easier and more realistic. However, sometimes the parallels between events and a novel and the author’s own life seem p ...more
Now this is a strange one.

It begins wonderfully with a child invoking the story of creation of the world in seven days, recorded in the book of Genesis, as she creates her own model of the world.

I learned that her name was Judith. That she was ten years-old. That her mother was dead and that her father was bringing her up on his own. That he was a member of an Evangelical Christian sect that believed that the end of the world was nigh.

Judith was terribly isolated, and sadly I was not at all surp

This is a story of many parts encompassing the frequently fraught relationship between a father and his daughter set against a backdrop of manic religious fervour and the stress of strike action with a pinch of fantasy thrown in for good measure - a heady mix indeed!

Ten year old Judith McPherson leads a rather isolated life with her widowed father. Their routine revolves around their strong religious conviction that the End Times are approaching fast but such faith won't be a match for the bulli
Não acho que seja um livro tocante, no sentido de emocionar e comover o leitor. A narrativa é brilhante, fala de temas difíceis e actuais mas a autora optou por construir uma narrativa que incita à reflexão e ao pensamento do leitor, pois sendo um tema tão subjectivo e pessoal, as interpretações sobre a estória da pequena menina que fez nevar podem ser as mais variadas.

Opinião completa aqui - http://algodaodoceparaocerebro.blogsp...
Luanne Ollivier
Every year there seems to be a book that stays with me long after I've turned the last page. And when someone asks me for a good book recommendation, it's the first one that comes to mind. The Land of Decoration - a debut novel by Grace McCleen is one of those books.

Ten year old Judith McPherson lives in England with her father, her mother having passed away. She attends school, but is bullied and isolated, primarily because of the religious beliefs that she and her father follow.

And sometimes
The Land of Decoration, from the Book of Ezekiel, is a better world, the "promised land", the way 10-year old Judith McPherson wishes the world to be. It's a world Judith has created from the junk she finds, and the reader can see her creation, beginning with the opening paragraphs of this debut novel------

"IN THE BEGINNING there was an empty room, a little bit of space, a little bit of light, a little bit of time.

I said, I'm going to make fields, and I made them from place mats, carpet, brown
This is an exceptional debut novel that I could not stop reading in spite of the deep anguish and the maternal protection that the main character invoked in me until I reached the wrenching conclusion.

The story is narrated by Judith McPherson, a ten year old that is intelligent and articulate far beyond her years. She lives with her widowed father John in a neglected home in a dying and decrepit town economically supported by the one local factory.

She and her father belong to a small, fundament
Joanne Sheppard
One of my favourite books of last year was Among Others by Jo Walton, in which a lonely teenage misfit struggles with her own (self-perceived, at least) ability to perform potentially harmful magic. Grace McCleen's The Land of Decoration has a similar premise in some respects. Narrator Judith, who is bullied and ostracised at school and whose widowed father has brought her up as a member of a fundamentalist Christian sect which appears in all but name to be the Jehovah's Witnesses, is desperate ...more
Ten-year-old Judith McPherson (her given name hints at her fierce mythic power) has a secret: God speaks to her. Loudly. The rigid yet salvific God of the sect that rules the McPherson family's lives turns out to be considerably more unpredictable when chatting with young Judith, and Judith is learning that using "divine" power has consequences that no ten-year-old could predict.

Grace McCleen's debut novel is fascinating, disturbing, funny, troubling. Does God really talk to Judith, or have the
In the beginning I assumed that I was venturing into the life of a very young prophetess, which was quite engrossing nonetheless. Although I can't be certain whether the voice that spoke to her in her head either belonged to the author's idea of God or the Devil himself, or, and quite possibly, it was merely the main character's overactive imagination, given that the conversations were pretty lifelike and lacked all sorts of divinity. Still, with all of this dubiousness, I must admit that I like ...more
Luin Grace McCleenin kirjan Ihana maa. Se kertoo nuoresta tytöstä Judithista, joka uskoo Jumalaan. Judithia kiusataan, joten hän rakentaa huoneeseensa pienoismaailman paetakseen todellisuutta. Yhtenä päivänä Judith huomaa, että hän voi tehdä ihmeitä, joten hän toivoo pahoja asioita kiusaajalleen. Seuraukset ovat kamalat, joten Judithia aletaan kiusata pahemmin.

Tein mielipidetekstin kiusaamisesta. Mielestäni kaikenlainen kiusaaminen, väheksyminen tai syrjiminen on todella paha asia, sillä kiusatt
The Land Of Decoration
Grace McCleen

My Quick Thoughts...

Judith lives with her her room she has this sort of replica world. She uses junk to create this decorated place. She calls it her Land Of Decoration.

My Thoughts After Reading This Book...

Oh my goodness! What a precious character 10 year old Judith is. She is sweet and funny and thoughtful and heartbreakingly achingly sad. She lives with her father and they follow a weird religion which causes them to not celebrate holidays and
Ilenia Zodiaco

"Il posto dei miracoli" è la storia semplice di una bambina straordinaria. So cosa state pensando. Non ne possiamo più di superbambini inoppurtuni e saputelli che si comportano come trentenni misantropi, vantando una superiorità morale e spirituale (qualcuno ha detto "L'eleganza del riccio"?). I bambini nella fiction sono sempre un rischio. Ed è per questo che, per me, bisogna riconoscere alla McCleen un doppio merito: quello di aver scritto una storia bellissima e quello di aver creato una prot
I really wanted to LOVE this book. It has all the markings and reviews that lead me to believe this would be another ROOM; one of my favorite books, at least in the last five years. Ultimately, I just liked this book. It swayed back and forth between a three and a two, and given the ending (no spoiler here) it fell flat on two, almost crushing it with its weight.

Issues with writing and execution: the two main characters both lacked depth. Issues with general construction, and sequencing abound,
Alex Templeton
I didn’t anticipate that this novel, about a 10-year-old girl who believes that she has been given the power to perform miracles, would be so suspenseful, but I zoomed right through it. Judith McPherson belongs to what can probably best be described as an end-of-days cult of Christianity; those beliefs have made her a bullied pariah amongst her classmates. She spends her free time using bits and pieces others have cast off to make a model world in her room, that she calls the Land of Decoration ...more
Sandy Hogarth

I was surprised to find a child narrator but was very soon under her spell.
Judith lives with her father. It is telling that she only ever calls him father. He is a scab during a strike at his factory and Judith is being bullied by the son of one of his striking colleagues.

The scriptures are read daily by the two (Judith’s mother died at her birth) and they go into the town evangelizing.

Judith has built her own land, the Land of Decoration from bits of rubbish. What happens there becomes reality
The Land of Decoration

"Mi sono chiesta come sarebbe stato morire. Come addormentarsi o come svegliarsi? Non ci sarebbe stato più tempo? Oppure ci sarebbe stato tempo per sempre?"

Concordo con chi ha definito questo romanzo una lettura dolorosa e una bella riflessione sulla fede.
Eppure... a fine lettura ho la triste sensazione di non aver capito fino in fondo le metafore e le dietrologie di questa storia e sono rimasta con l'amaro in bocca perchè mi aspettavo molto di più e non un finale così debo
Karen Mace
Another case of me being drawn to a lovely cover on a hardback book which led me to buy this one as I'd heard very little about it beforehand!

This book is from the viewpoint of 10 year old Judith and you will instantly fall in love with her as she's been through so much in her life and now lives with her widowed father who is very religious and to escape her life she constructs the Land of Decoration in her bedroom that she makes out of anything she finds and this is the world she escapes to and
Heather Noble
This book didn't work at all for me. It had no sense of time or place - could have been the seventies, could have been Wales or somewhere North with hills. The joyless religious sect stifling the lives of Judith and her father reminded me of the more than just a Baptist religions I came into contact with as a child but to me the plot, the setting and the characters were just contrived stereotypes in a story that failed to convince.
Well, that was...thought provoking! Though the story was often painful to read, it was equally engrossing and strangely resonant. I say "strangely" because I didn't have any idea what was going on and I still don't!
Haunting, sometimes enchanting, and generally standout all round. It’s a tense read, however, and feels heavily autobiographical. Grace McCleen was raised in a fundamentalist religion in Britain, and you cannot help but sense a strong sense of oppression – a menacing undertone pervades pretty well throughout.

It’s not a laugh a minute (there’s bullying, isolation and general doom and gloom are prophesied), but don’t let that dissuade you from delving into Judith’s troubling yet engrossing world.
Ten-year-old Judith and her dad John belong to an unpopular religion that’s never named but bears a striking resemblance to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

People regard the Witnesses as a cult. It’s an emotive word. It suggests an organisation that strips away the free will of their members. I would counter that all religions require their congregants to—of their own free will (important point here)—subjugate their own will in favour of what their particular god says they should do. (Just think of evangeli
Mirren Jones
Every once in a while a new author appears whose voice is so unique, the writing so brilliant, it sends shivers down the reader's spine. When I read The Professor of Poetry by Grace McCleen (her second novel), I knew that I had found one such author.

The Land of Decoration was McCleen's debut - a totally different type of novel, but already with the McCleen hallmarks:
intense, deep writing;
psychological and physical characterisation for the main protagonists that are in '3D' colour;
ability to c
Serendipity Reviews
Originally posted on
This book really captured my attention when I heard about it. The idea of a child creating a world out of the things she finds on the ground and then using it to make miracles happen, is the ultimate wish of every child. Judith epitomises the awe and wonder of childhood.

You instantly feel sorry for Judith. She has a lot to deal with for a child. She absorbs the problems of the adults around her like a sponge. Her mother died giving birth to her,
I think L-C1.
Ten year old Judith is a Christian fundamentalist that sounds very much like a Jehovah's Witness to me. She believes that God is speaking to her and she can perform miracles but something about God doesn't ring true. He sounds more like the devil and when he encourages her to commit suicide to save her father's life, I decided it must be.

Once she decides she doesn't like "God" any more, she tells him to go and he does. If it is the devil she's been speaking to, that is not likely an
All her life 10-year-old Judith McPherson has been waiting for and expecting the world to end Armageddon style. It’s what she was brought up to believe, and as a child her faith is more powerful and unshakeable than that of even the most devoted adult, including her sad, humorless father. For Judith, a major perk to all the biblically described destruction is that she’ll see her mother again, and her father will be finally happy.

Largely isolated because of her family’s religion, Judith has spent
"The Land of Decoration" I read in one day about a week or so ago. I've been wondering ever since I read it, what I should say in my review in regards to it. The story has really stuck with me. I don't think I've ever wrote a review this long.

This book starts out with the 10 year old protagonist Judith McPhersen. Judith lives with her father in only what could be called a very lonely and dysfunctional house (to put it mildly) in what is described as a very poor & seedy part of town. Judith's
I picked this book out of the library by reading the inside cover, as I usually do. I was ready for a change, having just waded through "Three Cups of Tea". It seemed like it would be an interesting tale. It was!!

Having grown up in a home ruled by strict adherence to the Bible, I felt I would relate to Judith, and I loved how the author brought her to life for me, using her thoughts and her voice to show us what her world was like. What an imagination, how creative! Of course, my own childhood w
When I first started to read this book I thought it wasn't for me, but because of reading good reviews I persevered and I'm glad I did. My initial uncertainty didn't last long and before I knew it this book had me engrossed, and I couldn't put it down.

The book tells the story of ten year old Judith who lives with her father, her mother died in childbirth. Judith and her father belong to an unnamed religious group, that one suspects are Jehovah's witnesses. Judith creates a model of her world in
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Grace McCleen was born in Wales and grew up in a fundamentalist religion where she did not have much contact with non-believers. Her family moved to Ireland when she was ten, where she was schooled at home. When Grace and her family moved back to Britain she went back to school and her English teacher suggested she apply to Oxford.

She studied English Literature at Oxford University and The Univer
More about Grace McCleen...

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“Miracles don't have to be big, and they can happen in the unlikeliest places. Sometimes they are so small people don't notice. Sometimes miracles are shy. They brush against your sleeve, they settle on your eyelashes. They wait for you to notice, then melt away. Lots of things start by being small. It's a good way to begin, because no one takes any notice of you. You're just a little thing beetling along, minding your own business. Then you grow.” 16 likes
“Once there was a man and a woman. When they met sparks flew, meteors collided, asteroids turned cartwheels and atoms split. He loved her from here to eternity, she loved him to the moon and back. They were two peas in a pod, heads and tails and noughts and crosses.” 7 likes
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