Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Land Of Decoration by Grace McCleen
We read, “My name is Judith McPherson. I am ten years old. On Monday a miracle happened. That is what I’m going to call it. And I did it all.” Now, that’s an extraordinary statement for anyone to make, let alone a little girl. But then, The Land of Decoration is an extraordinary story. It is affecting, profound, unforgettable.
Judith is a precocious schoolgirl who is growing up with her Bible reading/quoting widowed father among Christian fundamentalists who believe Armageddon is just around the corner. She’s ostracized and bullied by her classmates because of her beliefs. Judith finds comfort in her room, a place where she has created a world with objects she has found and bits of junk - a shoelace is a garden hose, rivers are made of crepe paper, plastic wrap and tinfoil, houses are made with chocolate-dip-cookie cartons, matchboxes. After she has finished her make believe world Judith borrows from Ezekiel, looks at it and sees that it is good.
It is in this atmosphere that Judith reaches the conclusion that she can talk with God, actually carry on a conversation. Not only that but she believes that she can perform miracles by rearranging or changing her small world. What she believes to be her first miracle is a surprising snow storm that closes the roads and school. Thus, she is protected from an especially frightening bully. However, as time passes the bully and his friends become more aggressive in their actions against the McPherson’s and Judith escalates her “miraculous” happenings.
In time Judith learns there are consequences involved in the choices she has made. Now, what can she or should she do?
- Gail Cooke