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Author Topic: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen  (Read 6192 times)

ILuvLucy

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2012, 07:26:49 AM »
Well, Styyna, I've chosen your easiest (?) question to address. LOL

I have a couple of (undeveloped!) thoughts regarding the mustard seeds.
First off, I was thinking that maybe growing the seeds wasn't the point because here is what Jesus says in Matthew 17:20: He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
It has been supposed by some, therefore, that he meant to say, If you have the smallest or feeblest faith that is genuine, you can do all things.  And this scripture was what Brother Michaels used in his sermon on the day he visited.  So, maybe it was only all about Judith's faith, (though she never seemed to have a problem there!)  and not about growing the seeds into actual plants??  (as I said, undeveloped thoughts LOL)

On the other hand......

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (also appears in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke)
Matthew 12:31-32
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
 Now this is designed to express the small beginnings of the spread of the Gospel, of the ministry of the word, of the grace of God in the hearts of his people, and of the small number of them at first.
And then which expresses the very large growth and increase of the Gospel, and the ministry of it; of the grace of God in the heart, and of the church of Christ, and his interest in the world: of the Gospel, and the ministry of it, as to its large spread in the world;
So here, obviously the growth (or growing), is key.
 
 :puzzled:
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Styyna

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2012, 09:08:04 PM »
Thanks, ILuvLucy, for explaining that. But. . .

In the context of your reply, both explanations about which I knew very little, I still don't understand why the seed's failure to grow was so important. It's seems to me that, one, she exhibited a lot of faith and, two, she did her part to "grow" her beliefs and bring them to other people.

Is there something else about mustard seeds I'm missing? Or am I missing some symbolism or something?
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ILuvLucy

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2012, 09:30:31 PM »
Is there something else about mustard seeds I'm missing? Or am I missing some symbolism or something?
I was hoping you could tell me LOL! I feel like there must be something symbolic about Judith's mustard seed experiment, just don't know what.  :puzzled:
Maybe we need someone else to chime in.  ???
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makinalist

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2012, 06:28:22 PM »
‘Nothing is happening to these mustard seeds,’ I said. ‘Do you think it’s because I don’t believe they will grow?’

‘No, Judith,’ Father said. ‘It’s probably because you don’t know how to grow mustard seeds.’"

This exchange strikes me as important.  Judith is attempting to relate everything in her world to her faith, while her father dismisses the issue as simple lack of know-how.  At the beginning of the book I thought he was the fanatic; later he seemed more pragmatic. 
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ILuvLucy

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2012, 06:59:40 AM »
‘Nothing is happening to these mustard seeds,’ I said. ‘Do you think it’s because I don’t believe they will grow?’

‘No, Judith,’ Father said. ‘It’s probably because you don’t know how to grow mustard seeds.’"

This exchange strikes me as important.  Judith is attempting to relate everything in her world to her faith, while her father dismisses the issue as simple lack of know-how.  At the beginning of the book I thought he was the fanatic; later he seemed more pragmatic.

Ah! Thank you ML.  Good quote.  :thumbup:
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Styyna

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 09:24:50 PM »
It has been over 30 days since anyone has posted to this topic so I guess the discussion is over?

I had kind of hoped to continue our discussion a bit further but somewhere along the line my attention got totally diverted. I think perhaps the trail is running a little cold on this one. Anyone else feel that way? Or would someone like to jump in and discuss this further? I'm open to either option.
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ILuvLucy

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2012, 08:25:48 AM »
It would've been nice to have the discussion of this book continue, but I was also happy for the comments from the few of us that elected to participate. 
Thank you to everyone who did!  I haven't gotten anyone IRL to read the book.  :rollseyes:
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Styyna

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2012, 08:49:50 AM »
ILuvLucy - I'm game to continue discussing it. What would you like to talk about? :)
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makinalist

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2012, 02:38:43 PM »
Is everyone aware of the writer's background and the similarities to Judith's life?   She was raised in a fundamentalist religion, little contact with the outside world, and also had a fascination with miniatures.  She almost didn't attend Oxford and felt guilty for doing so.  A teacher encouraged her to go.  It will be interesting to see how her next novel goes, whether or not her characters again relate to her own life.

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makinalist

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2012, 06:50:54 PM »
Grace McCleen won the £10,000 Desmond Elliott prize for her first novel, The Land of Decoration.  I read that she has finished writing her fifth (!) novel already, and that she intends to stop writing and turn her focus to music instead.  What an interesting lady!
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Styyna

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2012, 10:31:17 AM »
She is very interesting and, apparently, multi-talented! I wonder if characters in her earlier books relate to her own life as well.

About Judith - did everyone feel sympathetic toward her at once? And I'd ask the same question about her father.

Initially I found Judith to be a quirky character, one with whom I couldn't readily identify. And that's uncommon when I'm reading a book or watching a show. I usually sink right into the characters and find something with which I immediately identify. I think, though, that part of the reason was a very personal one. There is much of my (very normal) childhood that I have repressed and one of the reasons was because I was different from all my schoolmates. Still, I'm interested in how others felt toward both Judith and her father.
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makinalist

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2012, 10:11:16 PM »
I loved Judith right away - her loneliness, imagination, and quirky ways just worked on my heart.  Her father, now - I had an awful time being sympathetic towards him, seeing how coldly he treated his little girl.  She needed him so much to show her some affection.  In the end, though, they did heal, so I forgave him.  He was lonely, too, and not handling it very well.  She baffled him, I think.
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SusieQ

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2012, 09:30:10 AM »
I liked Judith a lot.  She's a lovely, lonely and uncertain girl that at the end, finally found her way.  I know that she brought out the mom in all of us. I wanted to protect her, not only from the bullies of the world but also from her father. Not that he would physically harm her.   It was the emotional ride that she was caught in and she just didn't know how to get off. Physical contact is as important as emotional contact. She was missing the woman's guidance that our own mom have provided us.

Her father... I can't even begin to  magine what it would be like to lose a spouse and be left with a new born child.  Most women are built with the maternal instinct.  Her mother would at least hug her and let her know she's loved- verbally and physically.  Her father loved her in is own way but he just doesn't know what he is supposed to do with a girl. I'm not saying that he would do any better with a boy - we saw a glimpse of that with Judith nemesis. I think he felt by building the fence around their house, it was his way of protecting his child. It was his way of saying, I love you and I don't want anyone to hurt you. But, Judith is child and she doesn't know how to interpret his father's behaviors. They both just didnt' know how to get the message across.  You know how often we hear that the mom is usually the glue that keeps the family together?  The glue wasn't there to begin with...
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Styyna

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2012, 11:22:46 AM »
Very interesting comments!

My maternal instinct didn't kick right in for Judith. She was so good at coping that I remained somewhat detached at first and marveled at how she coped with everything. The more I think about it the more I think I identified with her rather than feeling motherly toward her, at least at first. As I mentioned before, and like Judith, I was different from my classmates though I wasn't bullied. I didn't know how I was different other than accepting by the age of 8 that I was physically weaker and slower than all of them. So I think Judith stirred up a lot of youthful stuff for me that I seldom give a thought to.

I thought that her father's story has been done, at least the part where he lost the love of his life at the same time he was left with the care of an infant daughter. I fully expected, based on the "formula," that Judith and her father would "find" one another before the story's end. I must say that the story took interesting twists and turns before arriving at that point.

I love hearing how the story affected others. It enriches the story for me because I see the characters differently and I think you have hit on some important things that I missed!
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SusieQ

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Re: Book Club Discussion - "The Land of Decoration" by Grace McCleen
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2012, 11:57:45 AM »
Agreed!  I think this is way I love book discussions. It reminds me of studying for a test.  You remember,  right?  You study and study and not everything sticks.  :reading1: There's just so much to take in and you catch certain things that you either identify with, have first hand experience or have a profound message.

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