May B. Caroline Rose. 2012. Random House. 240 pages.
I won't go.
"It's for the best," Ma says,
yanking to braid my hair,
trying to make something of what's left.
Ma and Pa wanted me to leave
and live with strangers.
I won't go.
Mavis Elizabeth Betterly is "May B." the heroine of Caroline Rose's historical verse novel. The novel is set in pioneer times in Kansas. Our young heroine, our oh-so-lovable heroine, is being forced by her parents to leave home. She's being hired out to a newlywed couple. A settler has married an Eastern woman who knows absolutely nothing about keeping house. NOTHING. May B. will sleep in a corner of the cabin and try to be as invisible as possible all the while doing all the work in and out of the house. Cooking, cleaning, and doing all the "womanly" tasks of the nineteenth century. The woman, the wife, is not friendly with May B. at all. The truth of the matter is that she is MISERABLE and regretting the decision to marry every minute of every hour of every day. She HATES her life, and she is so full of hating and bitterness that she can't be grateful to May B., she can't appreciate how much work this young girl does.
If all went according to plan, her father would pick May B. up around Christmas time. Just a handful of months--August to December--to live with strangers and do her share for her family. But all does NOT go according to plan. For something happens that changes everything. And May B. will have to depend on herself, learn to trust herself, in ways she couldn't have predicted in the summer.
I definitely LOVED this one. While not every reader will find pioneer stories equally appealing, this one is just oh-so-good! For historical fiction fans, this one may just be a must read!!! I found the heroine to be so lovable. I felt for her almost from the very start. Her narrative voice was very strong. Some of these poems were just amazing!
I play a game inside my head,and
counting plum trees that dot a creek bed,
rabbits that scatter at the sound of wagon wheels,
clouds that skirt the sky.
For hours, that is all,
in different shades and textures
like the braids in a rag rug.
Miss Sanders told us that lines never end,
and numbers go on forever.
in short-grass country,
I understand infinity. (18)
So many things
I know about myself
I've learned from others.
Without someone else to listen,
to tell me what to do,
and to choose
who I am,
do I get to decide for myself? (158)
Read May B.
- If you love pioneer stories
- If you love historical fiction
- If you love coming-of-age stories
- If you like survivor stories
- If you like verse novels
- If you like stories about heroines with reading problems (dyslexia)
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews