1993: Missing May (the depressed and the departed)


Sally’s Rating: 2/5

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant was a bleak and unexciting read about one family dealing with the death of a loved one.

Ever since Summer’s aunt and de facto mother died, her life has become dreary and lonely as her Uncle Ob starts to lose himself to depression and no longer creates his beautiful whirligigs. In their grief, they see signs of May everywhere – in messages, whispers and signs found in their everyday lives. As they deal with their grief, Summer and her uncle discover they will always miss May, but they can still go on with their lives.

Missing May was such a depressing book. There is not much plot; instead, the author takes a slow, introspective look at what it means to lose a loved one and deal with the ensuing black hole of despair that threatens to overtake the survivors’ lives. While the ending is sweet and heartwarming, the majority of it was such a snooze fest that I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Summer is not the most memorable narrator. For one, she comes across much older and wiser than a typical twelve-year-old. Since her Uncle Ob is in the midst of a suicidal depression, he lacks that spark that makes for an engaging character. The characters were hard to relate to since their personalities were so muted and subdued.

While not the most riveting read, Missing May might be more touching for children who have recently dealt with loss and depression. I wouldn’t recommend it to most readers, though, despite its easy language and short length.


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