Thursday, April 5, 2012
April Book Pick -- May B, by Caroline Starr Rose
May finds Mrs. Oblinger not at all amenable to learning how to manage, so she must indeed do all the work around the tiny soddy. Not only that, but she now has no time to pursue her education, and she wants nothing more than to obtain her teaching licence when she is fifteen or sixteen. That is, if she can overcome her reading difficulty, which we would identify today as dyslexia. And that seems impossible, now that nice Miss Sanders has left the school to be replaced by a teacher who considers May stupid.
Then, the worst happens: Mrs. Oblinger leaves, her husband goes after her, and neither ever returns. Abandoned an unimaginably long fifteen miles from home with winter coming on, May must fight to survive on her own in the soddy and eventually find her way home.
May B is a beautifully written verse novel; it allows the reader to savor the language yet enjoy a fast pace. Say what they will about historical fiction not selling -- I'll gravitate to it again and again, and I know I've got company. Also, as an aside, this book was especially interesting to me because in my historical novel The Journey of Emilie, Emilie and her brother must spend several days on their own in a log cabin during a Wisconsin blizzard. Definitely recommended.