Rated of 5
by Dorothy S. (Hendersonville, NC)
The Land of Decoration
Wow! I'm nearly speechless. I found this book to be extremely compelling and well written. The fact that the entire narrative is told in the voice of a child, a very gifted and sensitive one at that, is one of the book's most unique features.
It is interesting that in order to understand Judith one must try to understand how others respond to her. Her classmates see her as odd at the very best, a freak at worst. Her father, though reticent to show the affection she deeply craves, loves her deeply, but also fears for her and is most anxious to protect. From what? obviously from the cruel torments of her classmates, from the world, from himself? The dour, fundamentalist religious milieu he has created becomes more real for Judith than the life around her, from which she wishes to escape to the land of decoration, where she will be reunited with her mother, and her father will be happy again.
Most telling is the reaction of her teacher who sees Judith for the troubled child she is. Indeed, it seems that at least one point in her development Judith suffered from a form of autism, which would explain her fascination with her imaginary world.
Yet, the most captivating of all, are the conversations between Judith and the god she has created. He is petulant, dogmatic, father-like? and so much more than could possibly be conceived in the mind of a child.
Do I believe in miracles? Let's just say that after reading McClean's brilliant novel, I have an open mind. More importantly, I am convinced of the inherent danger of a rigid, extremely fundamentalist religion that can cripple a child's happy existence in the real world and her relationships with others.