Pamela's Reviews > May B.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
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Sep 10, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: americana, disappointing, eh, historical-fiction, middle-grade, readin2012, thoughtful
Read on September 10, 2012

Hm. I didn't realize when I picked this up that it was a novel in verse. I actually got excited when I saw that--I like novels in verse, because it allows the author to really play with nuances of language and space. However, after finishing, I wished there had actually been more substance behind the style.

I admire Ms. Starr Rose's choice to make her main character not the spunky, extremely bright wunderkind girl who seems to populate most teen books. May (Mavis) is grumpy, a bit petulant, and she has dyslexia. Her parents send her 15 miles across the Kansas prairie to help out a man and his new bride until Christmas. Naturally, May isn't pleased with this turn of events, but when (view spoiler), May must fend for herself. Most of the novel is concerned with May feeling sorry for herself. I mean, anyone would, in that sort of situation. But everything here sort of stretches my credulity to the breaking point. Mostly it boils down to: How does she not die? I mean, really. Then the ending comes and swoops down and wheee! *fireworks* everything is good again. Like, why couldn't she have done that right away? Before the blizzard?

So much of what I would have been interested in hearing--the backstory of the wife, May's struggles to find food, how she kept warm, what is that wolf doing, anyway?--is glossed over or abandoned. I suppose I'm used to the minute details (probably exaggerated for better reading, but still) of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, which, as a Wisconsin resident who faces snowy winters, I found fascinating. My copy is battered and sad. It's rather unfair to compare the two but the author's choice of subject and plot (such as it is) forces you to remember Laura's story.

I honestly don't know who would like reading this, but I am cynical, jaded, and feeling a bit grumpy today.
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