Customer Reviews for

The Land of Decoration: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Every year there seems to be a book that stays with me long afte

    Every year there seems to be a book that stays with me long after I've turned the last page. And when someone asks me for a good book recommendation, it's the first one that comes to mind. The Land of Decoration - a debut novel by Grace McCleen is one of those books.

    Ten year old Judith McPherson lives in England with her father, her mother having passed away. She attends school, but is bullied and isolated, primarily because of the religious beliefs that she and her father follow.

    And sometimes Judith escapes into her own little world - one she has created in her room from rubbish.

    "There is a world in my room. It is made from things no one else wanted and it is made with things that were my mother's, that she left to me, and it has taken most of my life to make."

    She calls this world The Land of Decoration. She has taken this name from the book of Ezekiel - the land of milk and honey, a paradise for the faithful in the afterlife - The Promised Land. For Judith, it is where she will see her mother again.

    When Judith transforms her Land of Decoration into a snow covered blizzard and it happens in reality, she believes she is responsible. " Miracles happen because someone made them and because someone, somewhere, had faith." And she's doubly sure she's responsible as God told her she was.

    The bullying amplifies, as does the unrest at the factory Judith's father works at. And so does Judith's belief that she has the power to create miracles and change things. And God's voice is getting louder.

    I was so mesmerized by this book. I couldn't read it straight through, but had to put it down and come back later as my emotions were in a turmoil. Judith's voice was heartbreaking in so many ways. McCleen has created a character in Judith that just grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I found myself stopping to ponder many of her views. I wanted so badly to help her as she faced so much more than a ten year old should. McCleen's depictions of the other main players are just as well done. Judith's father is another poignant portrayal that was difficult to accept and read at times.

    McCleen's books explores so many themes - love, hate, tolerance, persecution, belief, faith and more, but ultimately is about the love between a parent and child.

    I wonder how much of Judith's story is Grace's story. She was raised in a fundamentalist religious environment and has a strong interest in miniatures as well. I think readers are either going to love or hate McCleen's book, much like Emma Donoghue's Room. This reader loved it. (so did Emma Donoghue)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A very special little girl

    Judith McPherson is the ten-year-old voice of the story. Clever, sweet-intentioned most of the time, albeit confused and displaying some questionable behavior, she believes her father doesn’t love her.

    Judith has created a secret miniature world in her bedroom, made from the discarded scraps of everyday life. A quiet girl without friends her own age, she lives through the landscape and citizens of her handmade world.

    Judith’s life is made miserable and difficult by a school bully by the name of Neil Lewis.

    Her only solace in life is found in her relationship with God. Although the religion is never named in the book, it seems evident to me that the fictional religion is based on that of Jehovah’s Witnesses or something very similar.

    Making them Witnesses-like is an effective way to reinforce that Judith is in her own world, as Witnesses believe that they are “no part of this world” and keep themselves apart from the rest of society in their personal lives. This helped to strengthen the image of Judith as being a part of her handmade “Land of Decoration” in her bedroom more so than the world outside her door.

    Throughout the story, you are never quite sure whether Judith is delusional, or whether her life is full of coincidence. What is real, and what is in her head? But you continually want to take her in your arms and offer her solace.

    There is some vulgarity and crudity, but it is by no means gratuitous. It is kind of hard to have low-life bullies without it.

    My final word: I was in love with this book and little Judith McPherson before I finished page 1! As the story went on, I found that there were moments that inspired an almost visceral response. You find yourself thinking "no, no, no!" You find yourself pulling for this confused little girl at odds with herself and the world, trying to find balance with her otherwise rocky existence. Probably about three-quarters of the way through my love affair faded slightly, but I found it picked up again before long, and in the end I loved this story. I loved Judith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Well written story. Author did a good job setting the tone.

    Grief tends to be sad that is why it isn't all smiles and assurances that everything will be alright. It is a process of coming to terms, of healing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Is it really the voice from God each time while Judith talking w

    Is it really the voice from God each time while Judith talking with? I am so confusing toward the end of the story. Then I realize this is not a book that shows you how to grow your faith or what you should do as a Christina in this fast changing world,but a book takes you to think deeply.
    The story is very touching, I was being very emotional while reading the book.
    I don't know what to say now because i have complicated feeling inside and racing thoughts after I read this book.
    It is a little depressing.
    The ending is a little weird.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Just Okay

    Odd book...hated the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

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