Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth - Sandra Dutton

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Books
Pages:  144
Source:  Purchased
Genre:  Middle Grade realistic fiction

 From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7 Mary Mae has always accepted the conservative, religious teachings of her family, including a very literal interpretation of the Bible. However, the arrival of her granny and a new teacher cause the 10-year-old to question everything she has ever known. When Miss Sizemore starts to teach the class about fossils, Mary Mae begins asking questions of the adults in her life, and her mother decides it would be better for Mary Mae to be homeschooled. At no point in the story does the child ever question the existence of God she only sees God doing things in a different way. While her mother chooses to see science as an enemy to her beliefs, Mary Mae sees it as an extension of God's work. Miss Sizemore opens her up to a new world, where inquisitiveness is not only valued, but is key. Here the relationship with Granny is also crucial to the story she is always there to listen to Mary Mae and does not discourage her. This simple act of support gives the child the confidence she needs to not give up her quest for knowledge. This is a great story with valuable lessons. Told in an Appalachian dialect, it not only depicts real feelings about religion, but also shows the people behind them as good. It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.
My Review:This story really resonated with me.  Growing up we didn't go to church until I was five years old.  Then my mom became a Christian and everything changed.  It is difficult to understand where science and the Bible meet.  A lot of people say that you can't have both but I believe the Bible backs up science.  In the story I felt like Mary Mae when so many people were telling me one thing and my mind was always asking questions.  I remember my own son asking our pastor when the dinosaurs were on earth.  I personally like my husband answer to the problem that the earth can't be as old as scientist say it is.  My husband says God could have made it as certain age to start with.  This was a fun look at how strong some people feel in their religious beliefs.  I was never offended  because it was never a put down.  Well written and a book I look forward to putting on my shelves at school.


  1. I liked this one as well. The cover kind of put me off at first, although it grew on me.


  2. This book, I can't even describe what is going on in my mind. To put it long story short, I did exactly what Mary Mae did. but after that I didn't do that again. So I guess it grew on me as well.-Saray (

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful review. Sandra Dutton