THE LAND OF DECORATION, a debut novel that has been translated into 16 languages, is beautifully written and brilliant. It will charm, fascinate, and leave readers with quite a lot to talk about. Grace McCleen’s writing is entrancing and resonates with clever thematic questions. This book is a premium reading choice for adults, teens and reading groups.
The subject is the life and strange experiences of 10-year-old Judith McPherson, who lives alone with her troubled, widowed father. Both father and daughter have been left with some unanswered questions about God’s reasoning for a suffering world, but they are able to find some answers in the Bible. “Father” seems to have lost much of his dignity and vitality after his wife’s death; he’s a factory worker who loves his daughter distantly and tends to deal with life’s problems with blind faith. This is a man who dives so deeply into his own biblical beliefs that neither he nor his lonely child can rationalize or function outside of them.
"...beautifully written and brilliant. It will charm, fascinate, and leave readers with quite a lot to talk about.... I highly encourage everyone to read THE LAND OF DECORATION. It is one of the best books of the year, worthy of all the praise it has received and then some."
“Father” and Judith spread the word about Armageddon by prosthelytizing, which leads to intense persecution of the girl at school. Judith’s thoughts are consumed by the anxieties of her everyday life --- particularly her most recent fear of being drowned in a school toilet by an aggressive bully --- and by much grander visions of the world ending. Judith longingly looks at death as it means she’ll get to meet her mother. She talks to God frequently in her own mind, and one day becomes elated because he actually answers her (or is this only a concealed part of Judith’s psyche beginning to break?).
The crux of the conflict is when Judith has full-on conversations with God and discovers he’s not really being straight with her about many things (maybe because of the opportunity to teach her?). Judith also begins to realize that the changes she’s making to her “Land