“Missing May” by Cynthia Rylant

“Missing May,” by Cynthia Rylant, is a children’s book set in West Virginia.  I read it as part of a class on multicultural librarianship.

The protagonist, Summer, is a young girl who is adopted by her Aunt May and Uncle Ob, who live in a trailer in West Virginia.  Although they don’t have much money, Summer finds a loving home for the first time in her life.  When May dies, Ob is devastated and feels like he has nothing left to live for.  One day he claims to have seen her ghost.  To try to help Ob, Summer and Cletus (the weird kid at school) take him on a journey across the state to attempt to communicate with May’s spirit.

I liked the fact that Rylant portrays West Virginia as having its own unique culture without making fun of it or looking down on it.  Rylant uses Cletus’ character to specifically challenge first impressions and judgment.  At first, May thinks he’s quite strange and doesn’t like him, but as the book progresses she begins to see him as an actual person.  Although the characters in the novel are poor, they come from loving families who distinguish themselves through art and creativity.

However, at the same time, I would warn that “Missing May” is not a happy or lighthearted book, as the entire plot deals with reconciling with May’s death.  I think that as a children’s book, it serves an important role in teaching life lessons about grief, but I don’t particularly enjoy depressing stories.

Categories: Children's, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Post navigation

3 thoughts on ““Missing May” by Cynthia Rylant

  1. Pingback: Cythnia rylant | Killaarmy

  2. oh depressing stories… another book i guess i’ll never read

    • Haha. I like happy stories. Actually, not even happy so much as not massively depressing. I mean, this one wasn’t quite on the level as “Bridge to Terabithia” as far as depressingness goes, but it still was way too sad for me to call it fun reading.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: