THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD
The Kingdom of Childhood takes readers inside the lives and minds of two people struggling to cope. It is the tale of a kindergarten teacher who begins an affair with a teenage boy. It’s not the stuff of happy endings nor is it a topic that is dealt with lightly. However, Coleman’s brilliant writing style and storytelling ability make this controversial subject compelling.
Judy McFarland, mother and teacher, feels her life unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to the memories resurfacing from her childhood. A simple, friendly relationship with her son’s friend, Zach, quickly turns into a flirtation and then something more. Their affair becomes an obsession for Judy. Zach is in many ways a typical teenage boy exploring his sexuality and leaning into adulthood. Kissing one of the school’s teachers, who is also his friend’s mom, seems innocent enough. But that kiss grows into an adult sexual relationship — one that he’s excited about but not sure he’s ready for. As Zach begins to pull away from Judy he learns some life lessons he’ll never forget. (MIRA, Oct., 352 pp., $15.95)