Heather's Reviews > The Land of Decoration

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen
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Feb 15, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: from-publisher-marketing
Read from March 27 to April 03, 2012

Judith McPherson is the ten-year-old voice of the story. Clever, sweet-intentioned most of the time, albeit confused and displaying some questionable behavior, she believes her father doesn’t love her.

Judith has created a secret miniature world in her bedroom, made from the discarded scraps of everyday life. A quiet girl without friends her own age, she lives through the landscape and citizens of her handmade world.

Judith’s life is made miserable and difficult by a school bully by the name of Neil Lewis.

Her only solace in life is found in her relationship with God. Although the religion is never named in the book, it seems evident to me that the fictional religion is based on that of Jehovah’s Witnesses or something very similar.

Making them Witnesses-like is an effective way to reinforce that Judith is in her own world, as Witnesses believe that they are “no part of this world” and keep themselves apart from the rest of society in their personal lives. This helped to strengthen the image of Judith as being a part of her handmade “Land of Decoration” in her bedroom more so than the world outside her door.

Throughout the story, you are never quite sure whether Judith is delusional, or whether her life is full of coincidence. What is real, and what is in her head? But you continually want to take her in your arms and offer her solace.

There is some vulgarity and crudity, but it is by no means gratuitous. It is kind of hard to have low-life bullies without it.

My final word: I was in love with this book and little Judith McPherson before I finished page 1! As the story went on, I found that there were moments that inspired an almost visceral response. You find yourself thinking "no, no, no!" You find yourself pulling for this confused little girl at odds with herself and the world, trying to find balance with her otherwise rocky existence. Probably about three-quarters of the way through my love affair faded slightly, but I found it picked up again before long, and in the end I loved this story. I loved Judith.
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03/28/2012 page 34
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