Thursday, 10 November 2011

Book Review: The Kingdom of Childhood

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (UK) Ltd (4 May 2012)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1848450702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848450707

I suppose in the beginning it was a love story... 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 organise 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 realise is that their relationship is for Judy only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

Judy is a kindergarten teacher in her forties, watching her family unravel and feeling powerless to stop it. Zach is sixteen and struggling to come to terms with his mother’s affair. The miss-matched pair are thrown together whilst organising a fundraising for their failing private school. At first it is dangerous and intoxicating…Judy feeling alive once again, Zach getting his first tastes of pleasure. But their romance quickly takes a dark edge, an emotionally damaging and life-altering relationship that can only end in disaster.

The Kingdom of Childhood was exquisitely written, capturing the youth of Zach and desperation of Judy flawlessly. The author has a no-holds-barred approach to writing, letting the taboo topic fly free of its own accord.

Whilst it was brilliantly written, it is a book I somewhat regret reading, for the simple reason of how exhausted and disturbed it left me. It was very reminiscent of Lolita where an adult robs the youth of a child and feels no guilt whatsoever, only thinking what more they can gain.

I’m on the fence on how to rate this novel. Perhaps you will have to judge for yourself. 


Mary (BookHounds Jacobs 10 November 2011 at 11:43  

The writing is excellent and I had the same reaction as you. It kinda made me go "ewwww" about half way through and I wanted to tell her to stop! The ending did catch me off guard though.

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