by Caroline Starr Rose
Released: January, 2012.
May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
Verse is the most beautiful form of writing EVER. Seriously. Prose can be made beautiful but anything that verse touches is instantly beautified. It's easy to go wrong with verse, but if you get it right, the result is nothing short of dazzling.
Caroline Starr Rose's May B. is one such beautiful novel. The verse is stylistic, yet simplistic and makes for a read that is oh-so-compelling, it begs to be completed quickly. And that's easy, because it is fast paced and May's voice is very engaging.
May's resilience is arguably the best thing about this novel. She is so young and it hurts to read about her struggles. Her struggle with her reading disability that brings out her insecurities before sniggering classmates and a very discouraging teacher. Her struggles with the downsides of being a girl in the 19th century, witnessing her brother get the little privileges she is denied. Struggles with being separated from her family, then being abandoned in the midst of nowhere and having to face nature's fury by herself. Her struggle for survival.
Most of the time I just wanted to give her a hug. And it broke my heart that there wasn't anyone to give her that. Seriously, this girl needed it. But the thing about May B. is that in spite of being severed off from known civilisation and having to do without any human companionship, she has a quiet strength, a fighting spirit that manifests itself against all odds. It's empowering and it unfurls itself not dramatically, but gradually.
I liked how the author juxtaposes May's struggle with dyslexia with the challenges imposed by the approaching winter. The setting, infact, is brilliant. I could literally hear the blizzard. And it terrified me. That says a lot about the author's skill, doesn't it?
Caroline Starr Rose's May B. could be called an adventure tale featuring a very brave and unusual heroine, that makes for a heartwarming and enduring read. Whether verse is your thing or not, I recommend this.
How often do you pick up a verse novel?