I’m one of those annoying people who, when someone else waxes nostalgic about a previous decade or century, is always like, “sexist, racist, no hot running water, cobble stones are annoying, smelly, wild animals, Hitler, and no zippers.” I dig simplicity, but that’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder, you know? For example, I could run around town, trying to find somebody who wanted to listen to my opinion about this book, or I could just post it on the internet, and see if anyone cares. The latter option seems much more simple to me. When people say they’re abandoning technology to simplify, I feel suspicious. I do not think life is simpler without technology. But, maybe they are not trying to be fashionably retro-counter-culture, and they just mean that they love enough people who they see in person that it is overwhelming to look beyond that. That seems nice.
Anyway, this book is a beautiful story that illustrates what I think about the “simple life” not being all it’s cracked up to be. It starts out like a funny, silly chapter-book experience. Like, Oh no! They fell in a river! Mamma, what are cow pies?! That kind of thing. Then, it goes pretty seriously into . . . well, life. It goes into how people suck and growing up sucks. It doesn’t do that in a whiny way, but it does do it in a somewhat adult way. The kids buy a dead man’s hand. There is swindling and rejection and murrrderrr. This is such a good book.
I think Holm does an excellent job at maintaining the Voice of May Amelia, while she obviously grows and changes. Her voice stays the same, but it grows with her. And it does that thing that old documents do, where they capitalize the first letter of words that seem Important. A friend of mine in law school always nerdily laugh about that. Like, whaaa, James Madison? Do you want us to notice the word Jurisdiction there? May Amelia does that, too. At first, it wasn’t my favorite, but it really grew on me.
I don’t know if I would have liked this when I was young. I think I would have. But, I like it now. It was a really simple, beautiful way to talk about being a girl in a world that doesn’t always love girls.
I received a free copy of this book from a book fairy. Thank you!!