Monday, May 7, 2012

My take on: The Land of Decoration

After reading The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen, I'm not sure what to think. Was the main character crazy? Delusional? Or was it all real? A 10-year-old believes she can make miracles. Are miracles even real? A lot of things can be chalked up to a coincidence, but a precocious little girl believes otherwise.

There is a lot going on in the head of 10-year-old Judith McPherson. She wants her father to love her. She wants a better relationship with him. Her father is very religious. He believes Armageddon is coming. They have to preach to the world. They have to get the message out. When she tries to bond with her father over religion, Judith is constantly rebuffed. Her mother is dead, and Judith needs a deeper connection with her father. Judith is even questioning her faith. What is the solution? If she can perform a miracle, will her father notice her?

Judith creates a miniature world, called The Land of Decoration. She uses this world to perform her miracles. She pours fake snow on The Land of Decoration, the next day it snows. Her neighbor's cat disappears, days later it reappears. A boy at school constantly torments Judith, and eventually he gets what he deserves. Neil Lewis gets joy out of tormenting Judith at school, but when that option is taken away, he resorts to tormenting her father. God even talks to Judith. They have actual conversations. He's telling her what to do and what not to. I thought Judith might be schizophrenic. Lots of people say they talk to God, in real life and in fiction, I take it with a grain of salt. To hear such things coming from a 10-year-old it is very hard to believe. But maybe that's the point the author is trying to make. What sounds so unbelievable might actually be true.

Judith wants her relationship with God out in the open, but will everyone understand? Her father refuses to believe Judith. He wants to hear nothing of it. Everything is going wrong in their lives while Judith is performing these miracles. Neil and his gang of friends constantly vandalize Judith's home. Her father is having problems at work. All of that is making him question his faith. Is Judith really the cause for all of that? In Judith's mind she is the cause. So much pressure on such a young mind. To me, it seemed like she didn't have anyone she could be completely honest with. Being honest results in weird looks and disbelief. The Land of Decoration is all she has to hang on to.

The book will definitely make you question your belief in miracles. Overall, I'm on the fence with this book. It's hard to believe in Judith. Either her imagination was in overdrive or she was suffering from some type of mental illness. I know it's bad to think that way. Whenever these type of religious ideals and thoughts come into question, often people will think there is some type of mental illness at play. But a child will always see the world differently than an adult, which is why I wish her father also narrated the book. We only get Judith's take on the world.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher (Henry Holt and Company) in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Well, it definitely sounds intriguing. I'll put it on my TBR list. Your description reminds me of Don't Breathe a Word where you're not really sure what's going on - is there a Faerie King or isn't there? That kind of thing.

  2. The story of this book is about the magical land and people like this kind of stories. I still remember the old memories about college research paper when I was to read these kinds of stories. This story has weighty and people will like it. I impressed with this story.