Posted in Book Review

The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen

13267654RATING: 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑

Publisher: Chatto & Windus

Published: March 1, 2012

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 291


“Something and Nothing are more closely related than people think, God said.”


Judith and her father don’t have much — their house is full of dusty relics, reminders of the mother she’s never known. But Judith sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith, and where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility. Bullied at school, she finds solace in making a model of the Promised Land — little people made from pipe cleaners, a sliver of moon, luminous stars and a mirror sea — a world of wonder that Judith calls The Land of Decoration. Perhaps, she thinks, if she makes it snow indoors (using shaving foam and cotton wool and cellophane) there will be no school on Monday…

Sure enough, when Judith opens her curtains the next day, the world beyond her window has turned white. She has performed her first miracle. And that’s when her troubles begin.


The first half of this book is okay, not good or not bad but in between. The chapters are short and the words are not hard to get into. However, there are a lot of issues that I can’t fully compensate after finishing the book.

First, is the background of the story. The setting is imaginable even to a child but the time period in which the story is set was quite unstable. I don’t know if it is in the post-modern period or in the modern period. I know most of the time, the time period does not matter yet it is different from this case. I think the time period in which this story was set is needed in order to understand the thinking of the people during that time.

Second, the matter or main theme of this book deals with faith and God. I believe in God and faith is something that we do not need to question. I did not like God’s portrayal in the mind of Judith, a ten-year-old kid. I do not know if it is just how the kid sees it in her head but it seems to contradict the main theme of this book which is faith in God. The ending as well is confusing.

I could go on and on with regards to the things that I dislike but those two things are probably one that some also complains about because it helps to disregard these issues in order to understand the whole story.

I did not like this book, to be honest. I’ve seen good ratings on Goodreads but I would be glad to disagree with those people. It’s not for me, the theme and the writing of the author do not capture my interest. I feel like the whole story turns in a disastrous direction half way in the story. I did not get the plot at all.


I’ll spoil you the plot based on what I understand by reading it: (I really can’t contain my angst against this book so I need to spoil you guys to help me understand if you happened to read these book.)

Judith is a ten-year-old girl who has been bullied a lot in school. She and her father are members of a religious sect that preached about the end of the world. They knocked on doors in every neighborhood to pronounced the gospel. She has a diorama (I think of it as a diorama) of the Land of Decoration which is equivalent to the promise land in the Bible.One day, she discovered that she was chosen as God’s instrument (and I’m still waiting for the purpose but I did not get it even though I finished this book). Whatever she does in her diorama, it will happen in real life. And so she has to deal with the consequences of her actions after constantly telling her dad that she has done a miracle. Those consequences lead to a series of events that does not work well in her favor and in the end, her dad figured that if she is doing those miracles then it is her fault why their life becomes a mess. The ending of the story was her dad destroyed the diorama and in turn, the world was about to end. Along the way, her dad lost his faith and God told Judith that her dad won’t make it to the promise land because of that. The only way to save her dad is to sacrifice herself and die because the world will end in 2hrs and she needs to decide.

Now here is the ending. Judith refuses to kill herself, although she really wants to save her dad and she is willing. But what do you know, the world did not end. Soooo, who is this effing God that Judith has been talking to in the whole story?! What happens in faith and God? What was that all about? I REALLY DON’T GET IT.


This is probably the first book in 2016 that I read and rated lower than 3 stars. I’m not recommending this book to anyone but you can give it a try if you like. The story just drags in the end for me.


A reader who becomes a villain, a queen, a princess, a heroine, and a warrior depends on the story that she reads. A dreamer who wishes to dwell in the world that she visited through the pages of her book. A frustrated blogger who wishes to put into words the frustration, boredom, and excitement that she felt throughout her many journeys outside the real world.

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