Study Guide

Missing May Coming of Age

By Cynthia Rylant

Coming of Age

Truth be told, Summer's already a little bit of an old soul in Missing May. She's not your typical twelve-year-old girl who's obsessed with Justin Bieber and painting her nails. No—our girl Summer's been through a lot and she thinks about big things like death, the true meaning of love, and family, all of which are all things that other kids tend to take for granted. When May dies though, Summer has to grow up even more, and she steps into the role of caretaker for her little family.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. How do we see Summer grow over the course of the book? Does Uncle Ob grow up too? 
  2. What is Summer like when she comes to live with Uncle Ob and Aunt May? How does that change? 
  3. Does Summer act like a kid her age? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Throughout the course of the book, Summer undergoes a reverse coming-of-age. She goes from being the caretaker and responsible adult in the book to living the kid lifestyle she needs.

Summer, Cletus, and Uncle Ob all experience a personal transformation on their trip to the capitol and back—even if they never get to talk to Aunt May's spirit.

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