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The Land of Decoration

by Grace McCleen

It's been a long time since I've read a book that has made me feel so angry. Grace is a child - bullied at school, friendless and seemingly unloved by a father who cares for no-one but himself and the God he believes in. She retreats into a better, make-believe world which she creates from left over bits and bobs. Some readers have found humour in this novel – I did not – but it was both powerful and haunting and left a deep impression.



Extract

But worse, much worse than Father being cross, much worse than Father not talking to me or not wanting to look at me or not wanting to touch me, is when he is sad.
Sometimes when I was younger I used to come downstairs at night to get a drink and the light would be on under the kitchen door. I would see Father through the glass panel sitting at the table, not doing anything, just sitting there. I stood by the door waiting for him to move and if he did it was like stepping into warm water. If he didn't I would go back to bed with a pain in my chest and promise to be better and wait for the light to come.
That was when I thought I could make Father love me but I don't any more. Because the reason he doesn't happened a long time ago and I can't do anything about it now, even though without me it wouldn't have happened at all.

Parallels

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
 

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