Study Guide

Missing May Chapter 1

By Cynthia Rylant

Chapter 1

  • At the beginning, we find out that Aunt May has died and that Uncle Ob is going out to sit in his old car after her funeral.
  • Summer launches into how she came to live with Uncle Ob and Aunt May: Her mother died when she was a wee baby, but not without passing on lots of motherly love to her daughter, and because of this love, Summer didn't grow bitter when she was passed from one unloving relative to another.
  • Finally—when Summer is six—old Uncle Ob and Aunt May show up and bring her back to their trailer in a place called Deep Water in West Virginia. And even though their surroundings are modest, she considers it paradise.
  • First of all, Uncle Ob and Aunt May keep talking about the tree house they're going to build when Summer comes to live with them. That's sure to win over a kid (and Shmoop—we love tree houses). But the trailer itself is also filled with these cool whirligigs.
  • And even though they live in a little trailer, Aunt May tells Summer to tell them whatever she wants from the grocery store, and Uncle Ob will go get it for her because they want her to feel at home.
  • Summer's never been treated this way before—she's always been seen as a burden, so she immediately starts going off on little kid junk food fantasies. And she realizes that she's wanted here. She's home.

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