Thursday, December 22, 2011
Book review: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
Twelve-year-old May lives on the Kansas prairie in the 1870s. She wants to be a teacher when she is old enough, but she has trouble reading. She understands the lessons, but when she tries to read, the words get all mixed up. Her parents have decided that to help out the family, May has to go work for the Oblingers, a married couple who live nearby, for a few months. She will have to leave school and not see her family that whole time.
Shortly after arriving, Mrs. Oblinger, who came from back east and hates the prairie, decides to leave her husband and return home. Her husband goes to follow her, and never returns. May is left all alone in the Oblingers' soddy. When they never reutrn, she doesn't know what to do, because it would take an entire day to walk home and she is afraid she will get lost. So she decides to try and survive on her own until her father comes for her. But then winter comes early, and May must find a way to survive, trapped in the middle of nowhere with dwindling supplies of fuel and food.
This novel is written in verse format. I haven't read many verse novels, but I think the format fit this story well, particularly when May described her struggles with reading (although the condition was not known at the time, May had dyslexia). Because of the format, this was a very quick read, and I wish it had been a bit longer, because I wanted to read more about what happened to May. However, I did really enjoy the book, and would recommend it to readers who enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie and Dear America series.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.