Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(153)The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman

The Kingdom of Childhood

Publication Date: September 27, 2011
352 Pages

Well. Where do I begin.  The Kingdom of Childhood is one of those books that I need to process before I could talk about. Almost like taking a shower after sex.  The main character, Judy McFarland, is a seemingly normal woman.  A Kindergarten teacher at a very New Agey type of Prep school.  She has been watching her family unravel for quite sometime and is just holding on until her son, Scott, graduates high school before she can be free from it all.

Something unexpected happens though that breaths fresh life into the weary teacher.  While supervising a friend of her son's, Sixteen year old  Zach, with a service project for school they kiss.  That kiss leads to an affair that absolutely consumes Judy & Zach. Their whole world becomes each other. When they can see each other again, when they can kiss again, when they can make love again. Judy knows the danger that such an affair brings her.  To be caught would certainly mean the loss of her job, the loss of her family, and quite likely the loss of her freedom.   But she can not stop.  Their love is like a drug and they can not get enough of each other. As the months go on, one of them want to end things. Will their illicit affair end before it is discovered by others or will their secret be discovered and their lives change in the most horrid of ways?

To use an overused phrase, The Kingdom of Childhood is a train-wreck and you just can't look away.  What starts as a mutual attraction quickly spirals into something dangerous where one person, tragically, has all of the control.  The relationship between Zach and Judy is far from a healthy one.  The story is told from both of their perspectives.  One chapter is Judy and the next chapter is Zach.  As the unhealthy obsession unfolds it is very hard to put the book down.  The reader is almost like a confidant to Judy and Zach, a witness to their bad behavior.  And as the story goes on you want to step in and help.  You want to stand up for the weaker of the two and put a stop to the madness.  But you can't, you can only watch helplessly as lives are destroyed.

Was that cryptic enough for you?  To be any less vague is to give away key elements of the story, which I do not want to do.  I enjoyed The Kingdom of Childhood, but felt guilty in doing so, if that makes sense.   The subject matter is so taboo and something that you only read about in the papers or see on a Lifetime movie. I can't even say that the characters are very likable because they aren't. But the story is one that you will not be able to put down, that I promise you.

1 comments:

Meg said...

I whipped through this one at lightning speed and agree: I enjoyed it, but felt guilty for doing so! It is a very uncomfortable, tawdry subject, and I felt very awkward a few times while reading. Judy is just nuts, though she didn't seem so bad at first. A very complicated, compelling book!

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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