Monday, January 30, 2012

The Trouble with May Amelia

We had the amazing opportunity to skype with author, Jennifer Holm, as a teacher book club on Thursday, January 5th.  I (finally) got around to reading The Trouble with May Amelia and re-reading Penny from Heaven and Turtle in Paradise (two of my all time favorites!).  It had been a while since I had read Our Only May Amelia and I'm planning to re-read it as well to refresh my memory, but I didn't remember looooving it.  But...I must have been wrong.  Because I LOVE The Trouble with May Amelia.  The story is so powerful and real.  I would have a hard time relating to present day Washington state, but Jennifer Holm made turn of the century, 1900, Washington State completely relatable.  I felt like I was there, like I could feel the wet all around.  The descriptions of the students coming to their one room schoolhouse by boat in torrential rains made me chilled to the bone.  Holm includes incredible foreshadowing in each of her books and this was no different.  When May Amelia translated for her father and said, "Yes," I cringed a little, knowing it couldn't possibly end well.  I do so hate being right. 

In looking to refresh my memory on another character's name (didn't happen) I stumbled across #Fuse 8's review of the book and I couldn't agree more. #Fuse 8 Production - The Trouble With May Amelia  I follow this blog on my RSS, but my RSS has certainly been getting dusty lately (as has my blog writing) so I must have missed this the first time around. 

What Elizabeth Bird says about the cover reminds me of a few things. 

Penny from Heaven.  Two covers. 
One portrays the times and the characters quite well.  It says a lot about the plot too. 
The second seems...prettier, but her hair is all wrong. 

And that's about all you see.  It's not the terrible perm described in the text, it's glossy and bouncy and perfect.  Not at all Penny.

Turtle In Paradise.  Same story.

Again, it's pretty.  In fact I love it.  But...Turtle NEVER goes to the beach and walks wistfully along with a starfish.  Ever.

And now, The Trouble With May Amelia.  Being Finnish, I would assume May Amelia would be very blonde.  She did wear overalls, but somehow I don't see her mother sewing overalls quite like this and where are the fields of wheat in logging country Washington?  The cover doesn't quite fit.  And it doesn't match Our Only May Amelia, which had a very fitting cover.

But that's not what this blog post is about.  Let me just finish by emphasizing that I LOVE everything (EVERYTHING) that Jenni Holm writes.  If you don't already follow her on twitter, do so NOW.  She is a great writer, with a wonderful sense of humor, and a sense of fun as well!

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