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The Kingdom of Childhood - Rebecca Coleman If this book did not have an interesting topic (adult woman seducing a teenage boy) it would have gotten only 1 star. I think Coleman's writing was trite, her foreshadowing clunky and obvious, and her lack of consistency in characters downright annoying.

Most of my notes from the first third of this book have to do with frustration that Coleman doesn't appear to understand how much the typical 16-18 year old knows about sex and the world at large. When Judy first meets Zach (as one of her son's friends) she is shocked at his use of inappropriate language (come being offensive for her) and feels that she cannot or should not discuss the Lewinski-Clinton drama with these "kids".

I thought the Mrs. Robinson discussion on their way home from the OH trip to be so ridiculously overt as to almost warrant a cessation in my reading.

I thought Russ's drug use (and overdose) was just added drama. I think a book like this (done well) could be an interesting character piece on its own with just a hint of the neglectful (because he is too busy with work) husband, rather than the drug abuse and overdose having been thrown into the mix. Along the same lines, I thought the fact that the school was going broke (and even closes and her last paycheck bounces!) was unnecessary plot/drama.

I also found Zach to be unbelievably inconsistent. First, he is the obnoxious kid who is telling jokes and doesn't ever work up to his potential. Then, he is the super mature and responsive son who takes extra care of his pregnant mother (bringing her lunch in bed) and loves his soon-to-be-born baby sister despite her potential problematic parentage. He is also the kid who never lies and worries about the morality of the affair. Blech...too much wavering here; he needs to be either aloof and teenager-ish or moody and removed, but not alternating super-engaged and checked out.

I found the whole culmination at the Winter concert to be too rushed and silly (would the mid-wife really seek Zach out to warn him?) and the fact that Judy returns to find Russ dead (but amazingly not from an overdose that she caused) to just be too sudden. I get that she is mentally ill and has become obsessed with Zach, but I was surprised that she had not even really remembered that Scott exists and that after his DAD DIES she simply ignores them and allows him to leave the state (isn't there a funeral? aren't there other family members who come to take care of things even if Judy has lost it?). I also found it astonishing that their daughter doesn't come home. I know she has turned weirdly religious, but wouldn't she still come home because her DAD IS DEAD????

Overall so much of it was just not plausible. Coleman was trying to address an interesting topic, but she made it so ridiculous that the book was not worth the time or energy to read.