The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

The Trouble with May Amelia
Jennifer L. Holm
Atheneum Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781416913740
FORMAT: Juvenile Fiction, Historical
AGES: Elementary School, Middle School
3 Stars

May Amelia still has many of the same troubles as she did in Our Only May Amelia. She still has to use a rowboat to get to school. She still has to work on a muddy, rainy farm in Western Washington. She still has seven brothers. And she still gets into quite a load of scrapes. Which often result in her beloved Pappa exclaiming that “girls are useless.” When Pappa finally asks May Amelia for help in translating a gentleman’s business venture proposition from English into his native Finnish language she is excited that her Pappa finally sees her value. Of course when it turns out that it was all a scam and May Amelia’s family is in danger of loosing everything, well…Pappa knows exactly who to blame.

I liked Our Only May Amelia. This book grated on me a bit. I really hated all the references to how useless girls were. It bothered me that even though May Amelia idolized her pappa he almost wanted nothing to do with her. He blamed her for quite a lot of things that she did…although if the boys had done them it seems like he would just chalk it up to them being boys. ***spoilers*** I especially disliked how he basically disowned her because of the translation…when it wasn’t her fault. She translated correctly, he just got taken in by the scheme.

I will be honest, there were times I wanted to be through with this book because that bothered me so much. But I stuck it out. And I am glad I did. I liked the ending. I did like how real the characters were. Even if the characters bothered me, the writing was excellent. May Amelia is a plucky tom-boy trying to fit in where girls are just good for “having babies.”

Book Discussion Questions:
Why doesn’t May Amelia feel like she fits in her family?
Why would May Amelia be so frustrated when her cousins come to live with her family?
What makes it so that May Amelia gets into so many scrapes compared to everyone else?
Who is May Amelia’s “best brother” and why is he that?
What about the other brothers? Did one of them act like a “best brother” when nobody else did?

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