Book Review: The Land of Decoration

The Land of Decoration
by Grace McCleen

It isn’t easy being the youngest child in your class at school, especially when you are probably the most intelligent one there. The older students tend to be jealous over the honor you have been given, and they tend to pick on you, seemingly with impunity. It doesn’t help either, if your family doesn’t have much money, and your mother is dead, and your father is too upset by that to act like he loves you. It can be a pretty lonely life.

Shortly after they were married, Judith’s parent’s converted to a fundamentalist Christian sect. The relatives could not understand why the young couple chose to do this, and most of them refused to have anything more to do with them. When Judith was born, her mother hemorrhaged, and refused to permit the doctors to giver her a transfusion. She died, the baby lived, and the father could not forgive God for what happened, though he never says this in so many words.

Would I dare say this is a coming of age story? It is more than that. What this book does do is seriously question where sanity begins and ends where religion is concerned. Faith is often defined as belief in that which cannot be seen. The scriptures tell us that if we had even a little bit of faith — as though faith could be measured in inches and pounds and ounces — we could make anything happen.

In an attempt to get closer to her mother, Judith has saved every scrap she knows once belonged to her. She has a collection of bits of fabric and trinkets that her mother had saved from who-knows-when. With these and other pieces of junk Judith picks up on the playground and saves from the trash, she builds herself a little town. She makes houses out of scraps and oddments and people out of pipe cleaners and bits of fabric — ponds and trees out of broken mirrors and leaves and sticks picked up from the ground. She has worked on this village for years, till it spreads across her bedroom floor. Now it is October. School is not a pleasant place, due to the near constant teasing of one particular boy.

A voice materializes in her head. “Make it snow,” it tells her. So, she gathers powder from the bathroom flour from the kitchen and fluff from her pillow and sprinkles them down on her town till it is covered with snow. That night, it really does snow — a freak storm that closes school for a day, and has her amazed that she really did make it snow. But, who can she tell of this amazing power she has? No one believes her. Her voice tells her, “Make it snow again.” So, she again layers the floor of her room — her village — with ‘snow.’ And it snows again. Her voice begins to tell her to do some rather frightening and destructive things to some of the people in her pretend village, who have hurt her in real life, and they are destroyed in real life.

As a result of all the snow, her father loses his job. She tries to fix things. However, as with most good stories, her attempts only go wrong. She wants to tell people that she is the cause of all the destruction, and that it is through her faith in God that all this happens. Ultimately — but why spoil a good story before you have a chance to read it?

Share it!

About Genevieve

Genevieve is a ghostwriter, specializing in memoirs, biographies and novels for her clients, since 2002. She loves her work, Her blog is a hodge podge of whatever happens to be on her mind when she sits down to write. Her essays may be about anything from family life, to politics, to good grammar. Come read it at and leave a message.
This entry was posted in Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>