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Our Only May Amelia (1999)

por Jennifer L. Holm

Séries: May Amelia (1)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,881368,989 (3.75)46
As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899.
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    My Louisiana Sky por Kimberly Willis Holt (HollyMS)
  3. 00
    The Trouble with May Amelia por Jennifer L. Holm (HollyMS)
    HollyMS: The sequel to Our Only May Amelia, published 12 years after the original came out.
  4. 01
    Out of the Dust por Karen Hesse (HollyMS)
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This is an extremely engaging tale told in first-person by the youngest in a family of all boys. May Amelia lives in the Pacific Northwest of 1899, a rural community of farmers, loggers, and fishers. She's a bit of an impulsive and independent spirit of a girl who gets into issues, a lot. I can see why this would have been given a Newbery Honor award, it's good enough for the main Newbery Medal in my estimation. There's an author's note at the end that took me by surprise, a pleasant one, and endeared the character to me all the more. Definitely recommended. ( )
  fuzzi | Mar 5, 2024 |
Fun in that Laura Ingalls Wilder frontier sense--which means you can be appalled by how hard everyday life was and, at the same time, be delighted by how simple everyday life was. It's a mixed bag of adventure and tragedy, with no great drama other than the characters surviving and getting along okay.

May Amelia is a tomboy, a troublemaker, and a plucky youngster with adorable speech patterns. She's the only girl in her small Finnish community in southwestern Washington. She struggles with loneliness and constant disapproval from her brothers, father and grandmother for not being "a proper young lady."

Some notes: A woman is murdered kind of gruesomely. The word "chinaman" is used a lot, which I'm sure is historically accurate, but might be offensive. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Infant death, domestic violence, emotional abuse, parentification of a child.
This book was really annoying. Lack of punctuation in dialogue is a tricky device, and here it fell beyond flat. May Amelia was not exactly sympathetic. That's likely due to how horrid her family was to her. Her dad outright hates her and wanted another boy, since seven weren't enough. Her grandmother beats her bloody. Her mother enlists her as the sole caretaker of an infant, who later dies. My family and I are Finnish Sami on my dad's side, third generation now, who grew up in Washington state. One of my aunts (I have four on my dad's side) was indeed enlisted at the age of ten to take care of a new infant, another aunt of mine. My grandmother was apparently too tired, yet magically regained energy to take care of, overprotect, and spoil my dad when he was born ten years later. So I should have seen my family in this. I did not.

There is zero stuff about Finnish culture except for a few names that would be easy for Americans to pronounce, and some food items. A sauna is briefly mentioned. May Amelia isn't a Finnish name. Neither is Wilbert, which is actually a German name. Off the top of my head: Eeva is a Finnish girl name, and Juuso for a boy. I get that the characters' names were Americanized, but the protagonist stresses that Wilbert dislikes English. So why call him an English name? May Amelia is Not Like Other Girls (haha see what I did there? It's a nod to the capitalization choices in the book). And -wow-, that character choice is -much- better done in "Dovey Coe" by Frances O'Rourke Dowell. Here, it's just weird since the characters are underdeveloped. The plot lines, if you could call them that, were stupid. There was no climax. This is a character study of someone's extremely vague idea of what a Finnish family might be like in Washington state in 1899. The author points out several times that her great-far-back grandmother was the real May Amelia, and uhh...ehhm...I can't come up with a response besides "then it seems like you packaged your own family history, Americanized it for a children's book and hoped to turn a profit." I'm off to find a better book about Finns. ( )
  iszevthere | Jul 6, 2022 |
Youngest wild child and only daughter of large brood of early Washington state immigrant settlers thinks she’s unwanted by cold, uncommunicative Scandinavian parents. Another good early Washington state history story but rumor has it that middle schoolers think they can’t relate to younger heroine. Good upper elementary read. ( )
  klandring | Nov 8, 2020 |
00009739
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
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Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1999)
May Amelia, the feisty lovable heroine of Helm's fetching novel, "ain't no proper young lady." A 12-year-old girl with an adventurous spirit and "a nose for trouble," May Amelia is the youngest of eight children and the only girl. Life in the rough world of logging camps and farming in the wilderness of the state of Washington in 1899 is not easy, and May Amelia and her brothers have to work hard to keep farm and family going. May Amelia dreams of being a sailor and traveling to China, but is hampered by everyone, especially her strict Finnish-born father, who is always yelling at her for "doing what the boys are doing." The book chronicles May Amelia's adventures with her brothers, a brush with a wild bear, conflicts with her mean-tempered grandmother, and the long-awaited birth of a baby sister who later dies in her sleep. The story, which is episodic and somewhat shapeless, careens along before stopping without much resolution. Still, the robust characterizations captivate, the lilting dialogue twangs, and the sharply individual first-person narrative gives the material authority and polish.
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If you don't go, you can't return. -Finnish proverb
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For my mother and father and for my grandfather Michael Hearn, who told me to follow my heart.
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My brother Wilbert tells me that I was the first ever girl born in Nasel, that I was A Miracle.
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As the only girl in a Finnish American family of seven brothers, May Amelia Jackson resents being expected to act like a lady while growing up in Washington state in 1899.

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