Review: The Kingdom of Childhood- Rebecca Coleman

Title: The Kingdom of Childhood
Author: Rebecca Coleman
Release Date: September, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 5 Hoots
Reviewer: Frishawn

This is the story of Zach and Judy, a boy and a woman, a student and a teacher. As their lives intersect, they are bonded by their similar circumstances-- he, the lonely new kid, and she, the discontented wife-- and begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them until the lines between adult and child are blurred, and a lifetime of secrets unravels before them.  (Goodreads)

At first glance, Judy and Zach’s story appears to be just another example of an inappropriate relationship between teacher and student; a la Nancy Grace.  Upon closer study however, the tale told here reveals itself to be so much more.

At its heart, The Kingdom of Childhood is a story about trust.  Not just the trust that exists between a teacher and her student, but between parent or child, and husband and wife.  The trust that is bestowed upon anyone deemed worthy of protecting another; and what happens when that sacred trust is violated.

The affair between 16 year-old Zach, and a much older Judy, is the culmination of long held longings, resentments, desires, and hurts done to the both of them by others that they loved, and who served as the guardians of their inner-most worlds.  It is in fact, the sting of these earlier pains serves as both a fuel and a justification for their illicit transgressions.  Though the crime perpetrated upon Zach by Judy is reprehensible; the emotional depth and unadulterated honesty with which the story is told, forces the reader to examine the situation from all sides.

This is an excellent read for those seeking a thought provoking, emotionally complex, and highly engaging read.  Given the relevance of the subject matter to current events; it is this reviewer’s opinion that this book would be a great catalyst for a dialog between older teens and their parents when read together and discussed.

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