Erica's Reviews > The Kingdom of Childhood

The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman
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's review
Oct 13, 2011

it was amazing

I received an ARC of this book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It tells the story of Judy McFarland, a middle-aged Waldorf school teacher, and the affair she enters into with sixteen-year old Zach Patterson. The narrative shifts back and forth between Judy and Zach, and also from past to present, slowly revealing the damaging events that occurred in Judy's past that have led her to where she is now.

The writing is superb on every level. It is quite clearly the work of someone who has studied the craft and knows not just how to write a sentence but also put together a whole story. I can't tell you the number of books I've read where the author was lacking in one of those areas. Coleman's eye for detail is flawless, and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Bavaria, where Judy spent part of her childhood. Having never been there myself, I was still able to picture the surroundings perfectly. Coleman's way with description is both poetic and subtle, woven effortlessly into the story.

The dialogue is also spot-on (the conversations between Zach and his friends ring so true you might as well be sitting in the middle of a bustling high school cafeteria at lunchtime), and the depth at which these characters have been explored is so thorough you truly come away feeling as if you know them.

Of course I don't want to give anything away, but the ending is brilliant. I finished the book feeling completely satisfied and simultaneously hopeful and unsettled. An interesting mix, and it's a story I thought about for days afterward.
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