May is a tender and heartbreaking novel that won my heart. This is a story about perseverance and love, it’s one I won’t be forgetting for a long time.
May is a coming of age story about a 16 year old girl who runs away from home and starts a new life in a new town. She’s hardheaded and soft hearted and she’s lives a somewhat sheltered life , but all of that is about to change.
First, I’d like to say that May is a very impactful novel that touches on a lot of hard topics, racism, abuse, and rape. It is a hard novel to get through but it handles those subjects in a way that felt earnest and careful. Green was successful in writing about sensitive subjects and keeping them sensitive, while exploring a time when these issues were prevalent.
You really get a feeling for the characters in May. Each character has depth and they contain something within themselves that is either all together good or bad. I like how none of the characters are perfect, they all have some kind of flaw, but it adds to who they are, and some characters are even too flawed.
This novel tackles racism hard, and I’d like to point that out specifically, because oftentimes newer authors will make major mistakes or sound insincere when mapping this subject out. Authors tend to turn their main character into an anti-racism superhero, and it comes off as unreal. Green does not do that, Green creates events that lead to changes being made, the story does not rely on the main character to fix everything. I like to call that mistake the deus ex syndrome, but Green does not commit that crime.
Marianna (May), is an excellent main character. She is extremely well written and I like how she is written to deal with her issues. She feels like a real person, she’s very flawed but she’s also a genuinely kind person. She does all that she can to help those around her even though her future is a mystery. Green wrote her with a lot of depth, she makes May’s fears and desires a point of contention, while also using them as defining characteristics.
This book made me cry, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had that happen. It is such an emotional ride that I actually shed real tears. The sadness wrapped up in this relatively short book is astounding. The raw feeling in this novel is real, it’s heartbreaking because stuff like this really happened, these are real hardships. These issues are brought to the forefront and become driving factors for the characters. Very well written.
This novel is saying a lot and it brings up many of the problems people still face today. May has a very important message and it deserves to be heard.
I give May a 5/5 stars. Pick this one up when you’ve got the chance. A huge thank you to Kelli Green for reaching out to me about this novel, it’s one of a kind.
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