Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Misadventures of Maude March

The Misadventures of Maude March

Audrey Couloumbis
For ages 12 and up
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2007   ISBN: 978-0375832451

Sallie and Maude March are really in trouble. Their Aunt Ruthie has been shot dead and they are truly alone in the world except for an uncle whom they have never met. The two girls end up living with Reverend Peasley and it soon becomes apparent that they are considered little more than unpaid slave labor by the good man and his wife. Then things become a lot worse when the Reverend decides that Maude should marry a Mr. Wilburn who has been paying her a lot of attention.

For once Maude decides that she is not going to roll with the punches. Instead she is going to head off to Independence in Missouri which is where she hopes she will find Uncle Arlen. Not surprisingly willful, tom-boyish Sallie is not willing to be left behind. Soon the two girls are out in the wilds of Iowa riding on a pair of stolen horses.

Their disappearance should not have caused too much of a fuss in the big scheme of things but somehow the story gets around the Maude is a dangerous criminal and not just a girl who stole a few horses. Maude's reputation grows and grows until she is accused of being a bank robber and armed-and-dangerous. Certainly Maude and Sallie have had to do a few things that were on the wrong side of the law but this situation is ridiculous.

The girls have to deal with all kinds of problems which would have stopped any other two girls in their tracks, but Maude and Sallie will not give up. Rattlesnakes, thieves and crooks, no water and no food, lost horses, and being chased by the law. All these things are somehow handled as the girls make their way to Independence. The biggest question is – will they find Uncle Arlen when they get there and will they be able to start a new life without getting thrown into prison?

Deliciously written and often laugh-out-loud funny, this novel will give readers a wonderful lift. Like a shot in the arm the story of Maude and Sallie, told from Sallie's point of view, is not only highly entertaining but it also gives us the opportunity to get inside the mind and hearts of this extraordinary pair. For as they face hardship after hardship, Maude and Sallie learn a great deal about themselves and discover that they are a lot tougher and a lot more resourceful than they ever thought they were. Colorful characters, titillating language, and a wonderful tale combine to make this a book hard to put down.