Wednesday, February 15, 2012

May B. : A Novel by Caroline Starr Rose

may bI 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 want me to leave

and live with strangers.

I won’t go.

May B. (short for Mavis Elizabeth Betterly) doesn’t want to move away from her sod farm house on the Kansas prairie, but her parents are adamant that she needs to move in with the Oblingers to help Mr. Oblinger’s fancy new wife get used to farming life.  Mrs. Oblinger is homesick: she’s way too fancy to be living in a dirt-floor sod house in the middle of nowhere, and May B’s family could use the extra money that she’ll earn.  Life at the Oblingers’ home turns out to be as lonely and sad for May B. as it is for Mrs. Oblinger, but while May B. has plenty of work to do, Mrs. Oblinger just dreams the day away.  When Mr. Oblinger has to go into town and stay overnight, Mrs. Oblingers seizes the moment to run away from the farm.  Mr. Oblinger rushes after her as soon as he discovers his wife gone, leaving May B. all alone.  She’s never been alone before, and she’s frightened.  She hopes they’ll be back soon, but they don’t come back!  With little food or wood for the fire, May B. has to find the strength to survive the huge blizzard that’s coming.  She’s terrified, freezing and starving, but she decides to try to find her way home.  Why hasn’t anyone come to help her?  Why has she been forgotten?  Have her parents sent her to this terrible place to die alone?  Review by Loretta Eysie

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