Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Kingdom Of Childhood Book Tour & Scavenger Hunt

Book blurb: 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 for The 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.

Excerpt: He shrugged. His hair swung freely at the side of his face. "The apology felt a little phony. I was curious what would happen if I pushed it."

"Except, I called your bluff."

"It wasn't a bluff. If it was, we wouldn't be here right now."

I stroked the small of his back, the skin so smooth it felt sculptural. "You're right about that."

*Head over to A Tale of Many Reviews on October 21st for the next installment from THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD*

About the author: Rebecca 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 New Yorker by birth, Rebecca grew up in the close suburbs of Washington, D.C. in an academic family. A year spent in Germany at age eight would later provide the basis for the protagonist's background in 
The Kingdom of Childhood. Rebecca first learned about the Waldorf School movement at age 14 and quickly developed a fascination with its culture and philosophies. After studying elementary education for several years, she graduated with a degree in English, awarded with honors.

Rebecca lives and works near Washington, D.C. with her husband and their four young children. Visit

My review: The Kingdom of Childhood is one of those types of books. You know, the kind you want to throw against the wall when the main character does something atrocious. The type of book that makes you uncomfortable. The type of book that makes you think, feel, analyze, and mostly, remember. Yep, this is one of THOSE books.

The blurb gives a decent summary of the story. I won't recap it further. This book, like most really good literature, has to be read and experienced. I did not have care much for Judy but I did understand her motives, I empathized with her. Rebecca Coleman's writing may have been dense in parts, especially in the beginning, but she truly captured the voices of a young, naive girl and a lonely, frustrated older woman, no longer enamored by the teaching methods of her school. By cleverly shifting POV from Judy to Zach, weaving in segments of the past with the present, we witness the unraveling of two people--one already experienced, the other thinking like an adult but still a wounded child--as they seek what they're missing in their lives from each other.

I also applaud Coleman for handling an uncomfortable topic of teacher/student relationships with such care and reverence. The creep factor lurks underneath the perfect visage of Judy MacFarland and by book's end we understand how she got that way. 

Even though I read The Kingdom of Childhood weeks ago, it is a testament to its staying power that I still feel so strongly about its characters today. 


  1. The story seems very serious with relationship between a teenage boy and a woman. It would have taken a very talented writer to put in the conflicting emotions on paper. Kudos to Rebecca. A very nice review as well.

  2. Thank you, Shilpa, and I agree with you. Coleman is a talented writer.