Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me

Set in the summer of 1969 just before the moon landing of Apollo 11, this book tells the story of Tamara Simpson.  Tamara’s best friend just moved away unexpectedly, and a new kid seems intent on taking her place.

“Muscle Man” McGinty is a mealy little worm, according to Tamara, and she wonders why she’s the only one who sees his outlandish stories–he’s training to be an Olympic swimmer, Neil Armstrong is his uncle, he can beat the entire neighborhood in kickball–as the lies they are.

Tamara becomes obsessed with showing everyone what a liar Muscle Man really is, until something happens that makes Tamara wonder what Muscle Man’s real story is.  Why does he tell such tall tales?  What could he be hiding, and can Tamara get past her own feelings and make an unexpected friend?

I really enjoyed this book.  It even made me cry a little at the end.  I think this story gives us a look at what it might have been like for kids who actually got to watch the moon landing and what their lives were really about at that time.  There was a lot going on in the world at that time, and, while this book doesn’t go into a lot of detail, it does give us a look at how things like the space program and the war in Vietnam had an impact on adults as well as kids.

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