Oct 19, 2011
Title: Kingdom of Childhood
Author: Rebecca Coleman
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman; sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother’s extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is, for Judy, only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.
The focus of the story is on the life of Judy McFarland, a middle-aged kindergarten teacher at a private school. Her marriage is falling apart as her husband Russ places his importance on work, and treats Judy as though she isn’t even there. The added pressure of needing to find ways to raise money for Waldorf before it gets shut down sends Judy spiraling downwards. Feeling as though she is all alone, Judy instantly enjoys receiving attention from a teenage student named Zach Patterson. As this teacher and student spend more time together for preparations of this years school’s fundraiser, their relationship grows and leads to a disturbing affair between the two. Will Judy come to her senses before it’s too late?
I would like to start off by saying that The Kingdom of Childhood is a novel with many lessons. This is not a read for everyone; however, I do believe that it is a wonderful story with meaning and emotional depth, and that readers can take away something from it.
I personally enjoyed how Rebecca Coleman incorporated Judy’s flashbacks to her childhood in Germany, and the disturbing relationship she had with an older man. This definitely brings all the pieces of the story together for me, reflecting on how her actions from then, have molded her way of thinking, and have affected her actions of today.
That being said, the novel is written in alternating point of views, Judy in first person when speaking of the present time, Judy in third person when describing flashbacks of her childhood, and Zach’s third person point of view in present time.
I couldn’t help sympathizing with Judy throughout the novel. At times I wished she could just wake up and come to her senses. Judy’s obsession with Zach is quite scary, but she isn’t the only one to blame, Zach isn’t innocent either.
I believe Rebecca Coleman should be commended for writing this piece about the relevant issues within today’s society that will force readers to step out of their comfort zone.
I recommend The Kingdom of Childhood to those who enjoy Adult Fiction with emotional depth.
An Enjoyable Read, Well Written