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 organize 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 Zachthe elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is–for Judy–only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.Rebecca Coleman’s manuscript forThe Kingdom of Childhood was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. An emotionally tense, increasingly chilling work of fiction set in the controversial Waldorf school community, it is equal parts enchanting and unsettling and is sure to be a much discussed and much-debated novel.
Rebecca Coleman is the author of “The Kingdom of Childhood,” an ABNA 2010 semifinalist. She received her B.A. in English literature from the University of Maryland at College Park and speaks to writers’ groups on the subjects of creative writing and publishing. A native New Yorker, she now lives and works near Washington, D.C. Visit her at www.RebeccaColeman.net.
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Mira; Original edition (September 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 077831278X
- ISBN-13: 978-0778312789
REALLY LIKED IT
Judy McFarland had a difficult childhood and her perceptions of appropriate relations has been skewed a bit by the past. She initiates an affair with a sixteen year old Zach, who is the same age as her own son, Scott. The story is told by flashbacks of her childhood, her point of view and that of Zach’s. The story combines elements of Mary Kay Latourneau’s story, a decidedly different school atmosphere of the Waldorf movement and weaves in the current affairs of the Clinton – Lewinsky scandal. McFarland’s own marriage is on the rocks and she seeks refuge and distraction in the arms of Zach, who like most boys his age is flattered by the attention.
While at times difficult to read, it will make you question if there was actually a crime committed by this teacher and if she really did take advantage of a student. I know when I was in high school, these affairs were not unheard of and were mostly ignored. The age difference is celebrated between and older man and younger girl, so it really points out the discrimination when the sexes are reversed. Reading this is like watching an accident occurring, you just can’t look away, you must continue to the very end even if it is very disturbing. Coleman does a wonderful job of creating the tension and ends everything with a surprise…something I would never have guessed. I can see this being perfect for a book group since it will provoke many heated discussions about what is right and wrong.