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Review: Neil Armstrong is My Uncle

June 9, 2009

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.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2009 6:40 am

    I am always on the lookout for good middle readers. I’ll be on the lookout for this for my cuz. She loves strong female characters.

  2. June 9, 2009 7:42 am

    Glad to hear that you liked this book. I have a copy for my son to read and hopefully write a review this summer. I think he will like it.

  3. June 9, 2009 8:34 am

    Ooh – I’m going to have to get this for my goddaughter. Thanks!

  4. June 9, 2009 9:00 am

    I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! And the name Kebsie was so cute. And I thought the brattiness was totally just right for that age! I hope she writes more – it was very good!

  5. June 9, 2009 9:09 am

    I read this one after you told me how good it was! LOVED IT!!!

  6. June 9, 2009 9:20 am

    I’ve been curious about this. I’ll have to add it to my list and pass the title along to the youngsters in my extended family.

  7. June 9, 2009 9:54 am

    this book took me back to my school years. My maiden name was Armstrong and all the children used to say that my dad was Neil Armstrong! I would read this just for the connection. It sounds a great read.

  8. thekoolaidmom permalink
    June 9, 2009 10:14 am

    This book is on my ARC-alanche pile and I’ve found myself picking it up and wishing I could be reading it next. I’m definitely looking forward to it, especially after your review.

    BTW, I wasn’t born yet when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon *big cheesy grin*

  9. June 9, 2009 10:27 am

    I’ll admit to being alive when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. It was late night/early morning for us. We dragged our one-year-old son out of bed to see it! Over the years we’ve reminded him that he actually did see that.

    The book sounds good, too.

  10. June 9, 2009 11:19 am

    I really enjoy a middle grade reader once in a while-they can be quite good. This one sounds like one of those. Glad you enjoyed it.

  11. June 9, 2009 11:32 am

    Judging by the title, this book looks fun. I am glad that you enjoyed it!

  12. June 9, 2009 12:01 pm

    I’m trying to build up our library of middle readers as the kids get a little older. I’ll add this one to our shopping list!

  13. June 9, 2009 12:17 pm

    I love the title of this book! It would have been catnip to me at that age! I like the idea of reading these books with my son when he gets older … I’ll have to start keeping a list now!

  14. June 9, 2009 12:37 pm

    I hope you don’t mind my jumping in here. This is my first book and I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed it –and thought enough of it to post a review. Thank you. I look forward to everyone’s comments.
    rhapsodyinbooks: the name kebsie is a name my 2 best friends and I came up with when we were in our early teens. It’s a combination of our 3 names. Kate, Deb and Nancy.
    thanks again!

  15. June 9, 2009 12:48 pm

    Sounds good, I’m going to keep an eye out for this one!

  16. June 9, 2009 2:09 pm

    Sounds like a good book, one that I’d really enjoy. I wish my youngest was old enough to read middle grade novels, too!

  17. June 9, 2009 3:06 pm

    Sounds really good.

  18. alirambles permalink
    June 9, 2009 4:06 pm

    Sounds great! What are your thoughts on this book for a 12 year old boy?

  19. June 9, 2009 4:22 pm

    yeah I really enjoyed this one as well- a great read!

    http://foreigncircuslibrary.blogspot.com/2009/05/neil-armstrong-is-my-uncle-other-lies.html

  20. June 9, 2009 4:46 pm

    Sounds very good. I’m going to see if I can get a copy of this somewhere.

  21. June 9, 2009 5:08 pm

    This sounds like a winner. Looking forward to reading this. Thanks.

  22. June 9, 2009 5:23 pm

    This sounds like a great book Kathy…thanks for the review!

  23. June 9, 2009 9:56 pm

    This one looks perfect for my 11 year old niece. She loves to read!

  24. June 12, 2009 12:21 pm

    I am quite interested in this one now. I’d heard the title but didn’t know what it was about before, but it sounds great. Thanks for the review.

    -Lauren

  25. June 17, 2009 9:47 am

    This sounds like a book I should check out for The Girl. Thanks for the review!

    –Anna

  26. June 17, 2009 10:33 am

    This sounds like an interesting book. I will have to check it out, thanks for the review!

  27. Alyssa G. permalink
    April 23, 2012 4:15 pm

    i read it. it was amazing

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