The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman
Published September 20th 2011 by Mira
AGES 18 and OVER
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 sextramarital 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 for Judy only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.
I have to applaud Rebecca for writing a book that I think everyone else would be afraid too. Kingdom of Childhood is about a teacher starting a sexual affair with a teenager at her school. I have to admit that this is a sad story. And the truth is I actually feel bad for the main character Judy because I can see why she felt that starting a sexual relationship with Zach wasn't an issue. Having both characters experience things in life that can be mind altering. And those kind of experiences make children think some actions are okay. They're unaware of the consequences behind these actions. If only Judy as an adult had the love she yearns from her own husband then maybe she wouldn't have turned to this little boy. And if maybe Zach had proper guidance, maybe he wouldn't have made the choice to become involved with a teacher. I feel bad for both of these characters.
This book literally captivated me from the very beginning. I felt glued with just the prologue, and by that it had me gripping the book, speeding reading. Because I knew what the book was about I felt like I couldn't stop reading because at any moment something would happen. And that alone, was from the prologue. I just keep feeling like an "OMG" moment was coming up and that feeling alone wouldn't allow me to put the book down.
However, after being drawn in, the story goes back and forth from the present to back when Judy was a child in Germany. And that kind of thing in a book turns me off. Though I'm not a fan of books that go back and forth, I never got confused or lost with it. So that's good. But as you read into her past, you can see why she didn't hesitate to fornicate with a teenager. She herself had an inappropriate relationship with a young adult as a child. Maybe some other readers may not think it's inappropriate but I did. I wouldn't allow my child to have that kind of relationship. That is if I were aware of it. I'm very involved in my son's life so I hope I wouldn't miss the signs if something like this were to happen. I feel most, if not all children that are involved in these kind of relationships are because their parents aren't aware of what's happening in their children lives as much as they should be. It's actually very sad if you ask me because I can bet this is happening a lot more than we're aware of.
As I continued reading, the author goes into details of Judy's past which further explains her actions as an adult. In my opinion, Life is a cycle. As a child, what you witness and experience will mold you into the person you become as an adult. And also these negatives experiences will probably repeat themselves in adulthood and continue on to your children if one don't break the cycle.
The relationship between the two was doomed to fail from the start. There's no way you can get away with this kind of affair and no one notice. It's just sad. They both feeling neglected and they find comfort in one another. But as things progress, you can see where exactly their relationship starts deteriorate. And the events that happen afterwards have you at the edge of your seat and gripping this book. This book was so so good. It's just so sad how everything happened. And I feel bad for Judy, because if she just would have had the affection she yearned for, maybe this wouldn't have happened. I don't know. I just couldn't help but feel for her. This book was simply amazing. 5/5 stars and a absolutely most definitely Good Choice for Reading.