Talk about a compulsively readable book… Sheesh. The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman was pretty intense. I couldn’t put it down. Like really…I was at the beach on Cinco de Mayo drinking margaritas and ignoring my friends because of this book. Nowadays there is a TON of press coverage whenever there is a student/teacher affair and it seems as though it’s becoming an ever-increasing phenomena. In the past, these types of clandestine relationships were typically male teacher, female student. Recently, a more alarming trend seems to lean towards female sexual predator and young male prey.
Coleman’s story outlines the illicit affair between Judy McFarland, a kindergarten teacher at a prestigious private school and Zach Patterson, a 16 year old high student who happens to a friend of her son’s. What starts out as casual flirtation (if ever there can be such a thing between a teacher and student) quickly crosses the line. This book was good because it was a total cringe-fest. At every wrong turn and bad decision, in my head I was screaming WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?! YOU’RE ABOUT TO RUIN YOUR LIFE!! But then again, where I’m at mentally and where a 40 year old woman who is sleeping with a teenager… There’s a major difference. Clearly you have to be missing more than a few marbles to think that’s a good idea. Or even if you don’t think it’s a good idea, to carry on and do it anyway.
As the book goes on, it’s revealed that Judy has a much darker past than meets the eye–and her family situation (both past and present) is very messed up. It also starts to feel pretty uncomfortable when you realize Zach doesn’t want to continue the relationship any farther, but she keeps pushing him into it. It really makes you wonder about the people who are entrusted to watch your children day in and day out… What are they capable of?
Rather than this being a chill-down-your-back kind of story, it’s more of a moral warning shot. The sexual predators that we all read about in the papers are more often than not the sweet elementary school teacher, the involved basketball coach, the late evening tutor–not the suspicious man lurking around the playground. Doesn’t that make them all the more dangerous?
4 dollhouses out of 5