Parents' Guide to

Our Only May Amelia

By Wesley Sharpe, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A historical novel set in the Pacific Northwest.

Our Only May Amelia Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 11+

Not Appropriate for 9 year olds

My 9 year old was supposed to read this for summer reading. I am glad I read it first because there was no way I was going to let her read it. There is talk about a man committing suicide, a woman is murdered and they sew her body back up the the kitchen, the grandmother is abusive and the main character finds her infant sister dead in her crib. I also find it very annoying that quotation makers are not used for any dialogue in the book

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 10+

Disappointed With the Unnecessary Language

I will probably be labeled a prude for this review, and that's ok. I know that other families do things differently from our family. Again, that's ok. But, I feel that there are some parents who might want to know that there are some violent pages with an older man shooting a gun at children, and a grandmother who beats the children with her walking stick. You might also want to know, if you are not yet comfortable with your children using questionable language, that you will encounter the word, "Goddammit," and that May Amelia's father and her uncle use vodka as a stress-reliever. May Amelia's aunt also proudly announces that, though she is unmarried, she has a "gentleman friend" who provides her with money and fancy dresses. I like that May Amelia is strong and more than a dainty, passive little mouse. I was not crazy about the message that racial tensions were non-existent in 1899, being a "kept woman" was perfectly socially acceptable, and that booze is the answer to a stressful situation.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (13 ):

This historical novel vividly captures the harsh and lonely life of a girl living in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century. The author builds excitement and suspense into each chapter: Chased by an angry mother bear and a cougar and nearly swept away by logs sent downriver from a logging camp, May Amelia seems to remain alive only by virtue of a string of luck. And readers learn that some things don't change in a hundred years: Brothers and sisters argue, parents set rules, and children run away.

To write this story, Holm delved into her family history: Her great-grandfather was one of the first Finnish-American settlers in the Nasel River Valley, but it was her grand-aunt's diary that inspired the title character.

Book Details

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