Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle by Nan Marino

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan MarinoTitle:  Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me

Author:  Nan Marino

Hardcover:  160 pages

ISBN:  9781596434998

Challenges:  2009 ARC Reading Challenge

From the back of the book:

Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year-old.  The problem is that no one on Ramble Street knows it, but me.

Tamara Ann Simpson is tired of all the lies.  And boy, oh boy, can Muscle Man McGinty tell some whoppers!  When he does the unthinkable and challenges the entire block to a game of kickball, Tamara knows she’s found her opportunity to prove to everyone what a wormy little liar Muscle Man really is.  Of course things would be a lot easier if her best friend Kebsie Grobser were here to help her…

It’s the summer of 1969 and the world is getting ready for a young man named Neil Armstrong to make history by walking on the moon.  But change happens a bit more slowly in Massapequa Park, and it’ll take one giant leap for Tamara to understand the likes of Muscle Man McGinty.

I really enjoyed reading Neil Armstrong is My Uncle.  For me, this book was a trip into the past to my own childhood.  While the world of Indian Heights and that of Rumble Street were very different, and a good decade separated us, I could still cast the characters of the book with the kids from my own block.  I was, of course, Tamara.  I could totally relate to her, as I too never quite got the subtleties of the social game and all was black-and-white for me, as well.  I had a few Muscle Men at various stages growing up, people who seem to come along with the world undeservedly on their side.

There are lucky people in the world, and then there are people who always seem to find themselves knee-deep in trouble.  It’s not hard to guess which group I fall into.

If I were lucky, the morning of the us-against-Muscle Man game would be different.  I’d wake up to singing birds and sushine, scarf down a bowl of Apple Jacks, and be the first one standing on the Rattles’ front lawn.

But I’m a “trouble” person.  And that means I’m in deep water from the moment the day begins…

-page 54 in the ARE copy

Okay, so I’ve broke the three things hoped for in the publisher’s letter.  I didn’t read it in one setting in a comfy chair, but in about 5 sits… and in the car, and on the beach, then in the car, and finally in my bed.  I wasn’t born until 1973, so the trip to the moon was old hat by the time I was around, and I didn’t feel like calling anyone to ask them where they were.  And the front cover is about as much interest as my young readers care about the book because the sun is shining and the waves were coming in and the fair is today… and “Come on Mom, why are you still typing?!  We’re gonna miss the rides!  I’m hungry!  I want an elephant ear!  Let’s go, already!”

But Neil Armstrong is My Uncle is a fun book that is supposedly for the 8-12 set, but I never felt like I was reading a kids book, to be honest.  I just had a pleasant vacation into a safe past and for that I thank Nan Marino and Roaring Brook Press for the chance to read it :-)  I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  Oh, and be sure to heck out Nan Marino’s site at http://www.nanmarino.com/

Sunburnt and Weary, I Return…

100_0159Waves.  Wind.  Sun.  Seagulls.  Maglit berserking a flock of seagulls (NOT the 80s rock band made famous by their weird hair and referenced by Sam Jackson in Pulp Fiction).  It all proved too much for my ADD to overcome.  I had dreams and visions of doing damage to my ARC-alanche pile!  But, I only managed to read a little over 100 pages of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle-Man McGinty Told Me

I put the choice to Maggie, (who, btw, wasn’t at all interested in silly little books, even FB!) “Should I start with Uncle Chestnut? or Uncle Neil?”  She said, “The one with the moon on its cover.”  So, my book choice was made by a 10-year-old and based on the book cover… lol.

Neil

So, for those of you who’ve read it, I’m at the part where Mr. Pizza just got the visit from the man in uniform.  The kids were playing kickball and the score was 42-0, but I don’t know if they’ll play on.  I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a book that reminds a grown-up what it felt like to be a kid, especially if you were the kind of kid like Tamara… a “trouble” kid. (I’m raising both hands, that’s definitely me).  Reading this book, I find my mind wandering back to all those friends, especially the ones who were only there during the summer (Nick, Angel, Heather, and so many others… funny how, as a kid, we’re never concerned with last names!).  I was seriously hoping they’d solve the McGinty on 3rd AND up to kick by putting in a “ghost man” like we did.  Ghost man rules, though, your ghost men can only advance one base, they can’t go from 1st to home.  But, alas! they threw in the giant as a pinch runner.  Boo!  :-D

Well, back to reading and I need a shower.  I have sand between my toes, in my hair, and I’ll betcha it’s in my drawers, too!  It gets everywhere.  I swear, I have no idea how beaches survive if everyone brings home as much sand as we do! lol!

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Oh, I almost forgot!  THIS was waiting for me when we got home:

Book Loot

The books are:

  1. Untamed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast ~ Book #4 of the House of Night series
  2. Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
  3. The Inheritance of Loss byKiran Desai
  4. God Sleeps in Rwanda by Joseph Sebarenzi with Laura Mullane
  5. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  6. Love Letters from Cell 92 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  7. Fruits Basket, volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya
  8. Cowboy Bebop:  Shooting Star, volume 1 by Cain Kuga
  9. Fruits Basket, volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya

It looked like the book fairy exploded all over!  Gwen had got home before us and dumped the mail on my bed… lol.  Adding to the book loot was a check for $100 and 4 coupons for free candy bars from Mars.  Dang!  I should go to the beach more often!

Blog and RUN :-D

Today Mags and I are going on a long trip to Michigan City, which is about 2 hours from here, and spending the day at the beach with people from our church.  Gwen was going to go with us, then the opportunity came up for her to go to the zoo with some friends, so she’s going to Ft. Wayne, instead.  So, I will have a bit of time on my hands, as well as a distracted brain. 

Now, we’re supposed to pack a lunch, but I still haven’t gotten to that.  No, in fact the question that kept me awake last night was, “What books should I bring?” 

Books.  as in plural.  for a day trip.  LOL.

So, after much deliberation, here’s what I think I’ve settled on:

Uncle ChestnutThe Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak ~ This is an ARC-alanche pile resident, and about 100 pages, so I should be able to get through it today.

NeilNeil Armstrong Is My Uncle by Nan Marino ~ I’ve been dying to get to this book but haven’t been able to because I was being “responsible” and reading books for blog tours.  Yay for beach days! (also and ARC-alanche resident)

ciscoViva Cisco by Patrick Shannon ~ This one is another ARC-alanche resident, and it’s a book of short stories about crazy talking animals living together in a city of their own the jungle.  Sounds fun!

home repairHome Repair by Liz Rosenberg ~ another ARC-alanche book, I’m on page 60 and getting ready to meet Jonah.

FB3Fruits Basket, volume 3 by Natsuki Takaya ~ Yes, Maggie’s MAKING ME TAKE IT!  lol…

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Books that almost made it in my bag were The Rapture by Liz Jensen (thought it’d make me look good with church people.. :-D ) and Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper (I really, REALLY want to read it!)

I’ll blog if I was overly optimistic when I get home, but now I must hurry and make my lunch!

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