Grace McCleen || The Land of Decoration

The land of Decoration is where you go to after Armageddon, Judith McPherson has built it in her room at home. Judith is the daughter of fanatics who believe the world is going to end any day now. Her mother died at her birth, leaving Judith convinced that she was responsible for her death (a 10-year old does not really grasp that her mother could have accepted the blood transfusion) and that therefore her father does not love her. Not being an ordinary 10-year old means that she is the obvious choice of victim for the class bully. This Neil has threatened to drown her in the toilet. In her fear Judith prays for it to snow so that she cannot go to school. The next day the world being covered in snow, Judith is now convinced she has performed a miracle. If this were it, it would be alright. Judith however, is also convinced that God is speaking to her and is championing her miracles. Being a rather Old Testimony God he advocates ‘an eye for an eye’ rather than ‘turn Neil the other cheek’.  A psychiatrist would have a field day with Judith, as a reader I started to feel very worried for her. A new teacher at school appears to be the next miracle. This teacher soon realizes that Neil is bullying Judith and has him under surveillance in no time. She does not realize however that Neil continues bullying Judith at her own home: ringing the bell, shouting in the street, destroying the front door and finally starting a fire in the living room. At that moment Judith’s father who believes they are being pestered because of the fact that he refuses to strike, loses grip. Judith becomes more and more desperate and feels that she is responsible for wrecking their lives with her miracles. God in the mean time is no help at all; he merely reminds her that he cannot influence things once they are set in motion. The school teacher is the only one who realizes that something is terribly wrong with Judith, she has no way of knowing however that God will suggest suicide to Judith.  At the very last moment a slip of his tongue makes Judith realize that maybe God is not talking to her after all. Her father finds her standing on a chair looking at her school tie hanging from the ceiling. From that moment on Judith is no longer in any doubt about her father’s love for her. To those who think ‘that’s a rather sloppy’ end, you are absolutely right and I was ever so pleased with it. From the start Judith strikes a chord. Judith is a sweet girl being overwhelmed by circumstances beyond her control. McCleen makes her tell the story which ensures that we are given a childlike look on things. As a ten-year old, Judith very often does not understand the implications of what she is telling, she does not as yet question things. As a reader you do, which make the impact of things happening even bigger. I was relieved Judith and her father were being given a second chance, it was the right way to end this remarkable novel.

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About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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