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

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  706 ratings  ·  148 reviews
"Muscle Man McGinty is asquirrelly runt,a lying snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year old......the problem is that no one knows it but me. In the entire town of Massapequa Park, only I can see him for what he really is. A phony."

It's the summer of 1969, and things are not only changing in Tamara's little Long Island town, but in the world. Perhaps Tamara could stand t...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Roaring Brook Press (first published May 1st 2009)
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Destinee Sutton
It's the summer of '69, but we're not talking Woodstock--we're talking kickball, Neil Armstrong, and the ice cream man. Our narrator, Tamara, has just finished the fifth grade. She's unhappy because her best friend has suddenly moved away and in her place a runty, mendacious boy nicknamed Muscle Man has moved in. Sadly, she takes her frustration out on poor Muscle Man, who smiles through all her bullying like a love-hungry puppy who doesn't know any better.

I think we're used to hearing stories...more
Debbie McNeil
Great child-accessible portrayal of the era: from Vietnam to gender roles, the hippy movement and moon landing. Add to that a great story of friendship and keeping an open mind and you've got a book that has it all!.....One harsh moment: realizing my childhood is now "historical" fiction. >sigh<
Sandy
So you know how everyone's buzzing about When You Reach Me? I'm going to go out on a limb here and brace myself on the inevitable tar-and-feather treatment that I'm expecting as a response to this statement.

I liked this book better.

Both books have a lot of similar features. Both books have amazingly beautiful yet efficient writing, where words are not wasted. Both are works of historical fiction (this one takes place in 1969). In both stories, the main characters learn some lessons about friends...more
Marfita
For once you can see why a main character is so annoying. Tammy hates her new next-door neighbor because he has taken the place in foster care of what had been her best friend. Everything revolves around her hurts and needs (so what if her friend and her friend's mom have to go into hiding because of the father?), which is fairly typical for an adolescent. But her parents seem to be the same. Her mother is only involved in her soap operas and her father uses his job, which he seems to hate, as a...more
Regina
Excellent historical fiction for middle-grade readers. Set in the summer of 1969, the story follows Tamara, whose best friend has unexpectedly moved away, only to be replaced by a boy who manages to get away with telling outrageous lies and winning everyone else's friendship. The emotional story of their unlikely friendship is a surprise. Just who is the bad guy here? Well, nobody. A fast-moving, thoughtful, and often humorous look into the friendship and family dynamics of a small-town neighbor...more
Allison Campbell
I was fortunate to receive a copy of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle And Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino from Roaring Brook Press. This is a sweet, funny story set in upstate New York just before the moon landing, focusing on a group of neighborhood children who have their own hierarchy and rules. Tammy, the narrator, can't stand the newcomer to the neighborhood, a scrawny boy she mockingly dubs "Muscle Man." He tells outrageous lies, the most recent of which is that Neil Armstron...more
Staci
Sep 05, 2009 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: Roaring Brook Press
Shelves: 2009-reads
What did you like most about this book? The time period was a favorite element in this book. I love the late 60's and the innocence that seemed to still exist. During the summer all of the neighborhood kids would get all worked when the heard the ice-cream truck coming. They would play endless games of kickball, and have special meetings to decide quarrels. I also really liked Douglas, AKA Muscle Man McGinty. He's a sweet soul who is a foster kid, but all Tamara knows is that her best friend Keb...more
babyhippoface
Best first line I've read in a long while: Muscle Man McGinty is a squirrelly runt, a lying snake, and a pitiful excuse for a ten-year-old.

Lots here to like. This is the first kids' novel I can remember reading where we see everything from the point of view of an antagonistic character. Tamara is kind of a bully. Okay, she's a pretty big bully to Muscle Man. Don't know if she treats anyone else that way, but from her references to being grounded all the time and kids rolling their eyes at her ma...more
Sharon
Someone I was discussing this book with remarked that it perfectly captured the voice of a 10-year-old girl, and I think that's its best and most noticeable quality. This novel captures the summer in 1969 when 10-year-old Tamara is devastated by the loss of her best friend and decides to take some of her grief out on the new foster kid who's taken moved into the old friend's home, who she's nicknamed Muscle Man McGinty. With the sense of justice of a 10-year-old, Tammy is always hoping others in...more
Colleen
What an excellent offering for young adults! This slim book should be an easy read for the 8-12 crowd, and offers some important life lessons about loss and dreams and rushing to judgment. In this first person account, Tamara speaks with a clear and wonderful voice that really captures the petulant anger and confusion of a young girl whose best friend moved away without advance notice or a forwarding address. I enjoyed this novel and recommend teachers consider it for possible inclusion in a sch...more
Karen
First of all I will say this edition of the book has a pretty misleading cover. I found it to be quite a turn-off, as it made me think the story was just going to be a goofy, mindless story for little kids. (Happy to see a different edition with a different cover is available.) Anyway, the story itself turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise! It took me about a third of the book to really get into it. But, once it's heart started to reveal itself, my feelings changed rapidly. It's actually a...more
Jennifer
Slight, but nice book about the summer of 1969. Set in New York, the main character, Tammy, is a hard-headed, lonely girl. She's still recovering from the loss of her best friend and is resentful of Douglas, aka Muscle Man McGinty, the boy who is being fostered down the street.

The moonwalk factors throughout the book; I liked the narrative cohesion of that element. Nan Marino keeps the scope of the book small, but it feels historically authentic.

We spend so little time with the characters that...more
Faith
Dear Mrs. Kerns,

I have read a book called, "Neil Armstrong is my uncle" by Nan Marino. This book is about Muscle Man McGinty, who is the so called "toughest kid in town". Muscle Man is always lying to people about Neil Armstrong being his uncle. He never can prove that a famous person is not a part of his family. Muscle Man wants to prove that he is good at everything, so what he does is he challenges the whole block to a game of kickball. A girl named Tamara, finally realizes that Muscle Man...more
Eli
To be honest, I don't know how this book will go over with other readers of this story.

The themes in this story doesn't just encompass Woodstock, but rather much more and much less serious than that. NEIL talks about everything from landing on the moon to gender roles to best friends leaving to death. There are many good things in this story, but I think the most debated issue about this book is the fact that the main character is a bully without even realizing it.

Tamara is upset that Muscle Man...more
Josiah
Every once in a while—how far apart is impossible to predict—a character in a novel will come who is unique, and special, and somehow digs deep into a person's heart and mind to make a permanent home there. This is the case with Muscle Man McGinty. I can't really even put my finger on why I found him to be so endearing; it's one of those visceral things that just is, that one doesn't question, because its reality is so certain.

In my view, this entire book flows from the character of Muscle Man...more
Teresa Garrett
From the title I expected a story about an older person: Muscle Man McGinty - I expected a grown up not a scrawny, scrapping 10 year old. The story is told from the point of view of Tamara who lives on Ramble street in a small town in New York. Tamara's friends from the neighborhood have formed a kickball club complete with their own governing committee. Tamara's family is eccentric to say the least and they always seem to be on the outside looking in at neighbors parties and other events. Tamar...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
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 challeng...more
Kelly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
After finishing this, I read a review talking about how refreshing it was to read a story as told from the perspective of a bully.

I think we read different books.

While I suppose the bully angle sort of makes sense, it doesn’t work for me. To me, Tamara (the narrator) was a bratty loner no one likes (or really pays attention to) rather than a bully. Bullies command attention. Bullies invoke fear. Bullies are not mocked by all of the neighborhood kids and treated as a joke. Anyway, the plot: Tamar...more
Emmaleigh
When I read the synopsis of this book I wasn't really sure what I was getting into, and I found myself pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the fact that this book is historical fiction from the 1960's and combats issues of things happening during that time period but also with issues that kids, no matter the time face. The 10 year old Tammy who is telling us the story gives us life from her quirky perspective and with all of her childish reasoning you have no reason to doubt her. The book took on is...more
Jackie
It's the summer of 1969, and Tamara Simpson is missing her BF and confidant, Kebsie who up and moved away. She was living in foster care with Mrs. Kutchner, Tamara's neighbor, until a few days ago. Who moved in, but Muscle Man McGinty, who stretches the truth and tells whoppers every chance he gets...like Neil Armstrong is his uncle, like he sang on broadway, like he can beat the whole kickball team single-handedly. Yet, he is a schmoozer and usually gets his way and has the whole neighborhood l...more
Betsy
Whisper "historical fiction" in a kid's ear and you may see them blanch and cringe at the thought. Ugh. History. And history in fiction? For many a kid it conjures up thoughts of dry, required reading. Titles that are supposed to teach and inform even as they "entertain" (read: bore). Kids with a penchant for historical fiction know that there's a wide swath of titles out there to enjoy, but too often it's the dull ones that end up on the Summer Reading lists. Books of historical fiction that ar...more
Andy
The voice of Tamara Simpson, the first-person narrator, is distinct and original. Tamara is a feisty character troubled by the loss of her best friend Kebsie. Kebsie has suddenly moved away with her birth mother, and Douglas McGinty appears to have taken Kebsie's spot as Mrs. Kutchner's new foster child. "Muscle Man McGinty" tells lie after lie, and Tamara can not believe that these lies go unnoticed by everyone around. Her earnest disbelief is part of what makes her so childlike and painfully a...more
Judi Paradis
Tammy, the narrator of this book, is exactly the same age as me--we were both 10 years old in 1969 when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. This kept me interested as the author gets lots of details about this time in the U.S. exactly right. However, Tammy is a really unpleasant kid and it is hard to feel sympathy for her as you read the book. She is angry that her best friend has moved from a foster-care home in her neighborhood and is determined to dislike the boy who moved in to replace her. M...more
Nicole
It’s summer, so all the kids are out of school and running around the neighborhood. Their days are filled with kickball and ice cream. Unfortunately Tammy just isn’t happy. Her best friend moved away and a boy has moved into her old house. Tammy nicknames him “Muscle Man” and hates hearing all his lies; even worse, no one else, even the adults, calls Muscle Man out on the lies. As summer stretches on and the realities of Vietnam hit home, things change even more for Tammy and the neighborhood. T...more
Janet Maisel
Nice story that took me home to my childhood neighborhood. It struck close to home in lots of ways, particularly my family life, and sometimes I don't like going back there, even as an adult, so I would prefer a children's book that is more fun and upbeat and provides a bit of an escape. I think as a child this book would have been very sad to read. Is it too much to expect elementary school kids to be able to see the life from a grown up perspective. I think it is another way to ask them to be...more
Kay Mcgriff
Get ready to travel back in time to 1969 with this book. Things are changing slowly Ramble Street as the world gets ready to watch Neil Armstrong take the first step on the moon. For the kids on Ramble Street, nothing comes in the way of a good kickball game–unless it is the lies told by Muscle Man McGinty. Tamara has had enough of his lies and thinks she might finally prove her point when Muscle Man claims he can beat the the other kids on the block all by himself. Somehow, though, things don’t...more
Ellen Brandt
December's Teachers as Readers selection. Like 2 of the 3 others that we have read this year, this one takes place during the era of my childhood. (60s/70s). I wonder if it will resonate with today's child. (historical fiction, I suppose). Tamara, the 10 year old narrator, is angry that her neighbor and best friend (a foster child, we later find out) moves away without a forwarding address and a boastful boy (another foster child) moves in. Tamara is determined to make life difficult for the new...more
Eva Mitnick
The title is long but the book is short. This is a slice of life from 1969 New Jersey, told from the point of view of a literal-minded girl named Tammy who just can't stand that her best friend is gone and and in her place (fostered by the same woman) is a little runt who tells huge whoppers. That this boy (Douglas, but known by Tammy's sarcastic nickname Muscle Man) must have a sad story to be in foster care, and that he is pretty darn nice guy despite his lies, doesn't occur to Tammy; she is u...more
Abby Johnson
It's the summer of 1969 and the whole world is waiting to watch Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon. Tamara is gritting her teeth and dealing with Douglas "Muscle Man" McGinty, the wimpy new foster kid who's replaced Tamara's best friend Kebsie down the street. He thinks he's so great, but Tamara can see straight through his lies. He's not training for the Olympics. And Neil Armstrong is not his uncle, no matter what the wormy kid says. Why can't Muscle Man go away and send Kebsie ba...more
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