Review: Neil Armstrong is My Uncle
Tamara Simpson is having a rough summer. Her best friend, Kebsie, was a foster child living with the woman across the street and she’s moved back in with her mother. A new boy, Douglas, has moved in – Tamara calls him Muscle Man because he’s so scrawny. Tamara resents Muscle Man because he’s taken Kebsie’s place and he tells lies that no one else seems to notice. Among other things, he claims to be training for the Olympic swimming team and says that Neil Armstrong is his uncle. When he challenges the whole neighborhood to a kick ball game, Tamara won’t give him an inch and can’t understand why everyone one else will.
When Tamara’s brother’s best friend, Vinnie, is killed in Vietnam, she discovers something about Douglas that makes her re-think her attitude and understand everyone else’s.
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino is a middle grade reader, but I loved it. The story line is great, so it kept my interest throughout. I think the author captured the feelings of being 12 years old – you’re beginning to feel grown up, yet there’s still so much of the world you don’t understand. Tamara’s feelings of confusion are so typical at that age. Tamara had a strong sense of right and wrong and just couldn’t understand why no one else seemed to. This is a great book to share with a young reader.
This book also made me remember where I was when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, almost 40 years ago. I was about the same age as Tamara is in the book and my father drug me out of bed because he didn’t want me to miss history in the making. I grumbled at the time, but I’m very glad I witnessed it now.