Kate's Reviews > The Land of Decoration

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, fiction, magical-realism
Read from January 24 to 29, 2012

Narrated by 10 year old Judith, a girl who lives with her widowed father; brutally bullied; and member of a Doomsday oriented religious group. Judith has constructed a model of her town in her room. She calls it The Land of Decoration. It is made of bits and pieces, discarded things, rubbish.
After a guest speaker talks about faith and miracles at Judith's church, Judith dreams she is offered the choice of an object offering swift sweetness with a bitter after taste or one in which one must wait for the delights, though they are much sweeter. She chooses the former.
Essentially Judith is feeling helpless; the bullying at school; no friends her own age; loneliness and a lack of support by her emotionally controlled father and uninterested teacher, and the perils facing her own father, at work and home, when he becomes a target after crossing the picket line at his factory job. She has no one to talk to, and not even the Police appear much help in the situation. So she spends her days daydreaming in The Land of Decoration and talks to God. Though oneday he talks back, encouraging Judith to take matters into her own hands - pay back, "an eye for an eye".
Just as quickly as Judith find satisfaction in her new "power" and the positive changes taking place around her at school, she also find there is a flipside, one she helplessly watches unfold before her. "It is easy to do things", warns God. "It is not as easy to un-do them" and the situation at home becomes increasingly dire and tense, and her family's faith is tested to the max.
This is a quite a quirky,dark book, with an ending that moves into unthinkable, tragic territory. This book is as highly original as it is unusual. And easy read, I am not quite sure how to take it. It is thought provoking, philosophical and insightful. My criticism is that there was a sense that, empathetic new teacher, Mrs Pierce, senses there was something not right about Judith,bullying aside, but her concerns are not really explored nor do they resolve themselves. Also, while Judith is said to be ten years old and is intentionally portrayed as quite sheltered and naive; some of her other classmates seem very much older. For instance, do 10 year old girls really describe 10 year old boys as "sex on a stick"? If I could, I would give this book three and a half stars and I would like to read other opinions on this one.

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message 1: by Astraea (new)

Astraea "do 10 year old girls really describe 10 year old boys as "sex on a stick"? "

I'm sure they (or some of them) do. "Sex on a stick" meaning attractive is a common slang phrase now. 10 today is like 16 or so used to be.

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