Friday, June 03, 2011

Our Only May Amelia (MG)

Our Only May Amelia. Jennifer L. Holm. 1999. HarperCollins.

My brother Wilbert tells me that I was the first ever girl born in Nasel, that I was A Miracle. 

While it wasn't always easy to keep up with all seven of May Amelia's brothers, I really did enjoy this historical novel very much. May Amelia, our heroine, feels like she doesn't belong. It seems that she's always disappointing someone in her family--be it her father, mother, brother, cousin, or grandmother. She's grown up with brothers--doing the things that boys do--but each year she's expected to act more like a lady--a proper lady--and less like a tomboy. And if you took the time to ask her, she'd tell you truthfully, that she does NOT want to be a lady. She doesn't want to be silly and boy-crazy. She sees the way "young ladies" act around her older brothers. And it disgusts her. No, May Amelia is much too sensible to be a proper lady.

This family novel has its quiet and loud moments. It has plenty of drama, but at the same time it is focused on the characters, the family dynamics, how May Amelia relates to each member of her family for better or worse. Dramatic events include, for example, the arrival of her paternal grandmother, "Grandmother Patience," and her mother going into labor while the family's boating on the river.
Trust me, Grandma Patience is anything but patient. Her true name might be Grandmother Cranky Pants. The scenes were she lets loose and speaks her mind--well, let's just say they made me boo and hiss. She was not my favorite family member. I much preferred getting to know some of May Amelia's aunts and uncles. 

I thought this historical novel was well-written. I thought the characters were well-developed. I enjoyed watching May Amelia mature through the novel.

Set in 1899, Washington State.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


fourth Musketeer said...

This is one of my favorite historical novels. There's a sequel that just came out that you might enjoy, The Trouble With May Amelia!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I read this one a long time ago and remember that I liked it, but not much else about it. I just read and reviewed The Trouble with May Amelia:

Sam @ Parenthetical said...

I don't know this book, but it reminds me of Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.

QNPoohBear said...

I loved this book and the sequel too. Read the Boston Jane series by the same author. They are also good.