Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review - "The Trouble with May Amelia"

Oh May Amelia.  What shall be done with May Amelia Jackson?  She won't wear dresses, won't be a proper lady, and drives her family to distraction with all the trouble she manages to get into.  I was thrilled to learn that May Amelia, the irrepressible heroine of Jennifer L. Holm's Newbery Honor book Our Only May Amelia would be back for another adventure with The Trouble with May Amelia.  Children's lit needs girls like May Amelia, girls who are smart but not too smart, tough but not too tough and full of that particular kind of energy you get when a young girl is on her way to becoming a young woman.  Whether she likes it or not.
The Trouble with May Amelia is very much like its predecessor, in that it is mostly a collection of stories in chapter form.  We get the story of Friendly, the mad bull out to terrorize the children at the schoolhouse, the story of Jaakko and Helmi, May Amelia’s cousins, who come from Finland after a tragedy hits their family, and the story of a business venture that could change the face of the Nasal community and the lives of the whole Jackson family.  And through it all, May Amelia keeps her spirit, even when the worst happens and she finds herself on the outside looking in.
I love May Amelia.  I love her sense of humor, which is in full force here.  I love her dedication to and exasperation with her brothers and most of all her indefatigable spirit in the face of some terrible events.  Holm has once again given us a stellar character presented with unique (and entertaining) challenges and a touching, perfectly May Amelia ending.  I have to say I enjoyed this sequel just as much as the original, which I recently reread.  So what's to be done with May Amelia, who insists on being the grain of sand in an oyster, instead of the pearl?  Nothing, I suppose, because we wouldn't have her any other way.

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
2011, Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Library copy

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