I Love You, Michael Collins

Lauren Baratz-Logsted. FSG/Ferguson, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-30385-3
In this epistolary novel set during the charged weeks preceding the Apollo 11 launch, a class assignment prompts 10-year-old Mamie Anderson to write letters to astronaut Michael Collins, while her classmates favor Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, who will actually set foot on the moon. Though some of the letters can be forced (“Do you know what an Erector set is, Michael Collins?”), they are an effective way for Mamie to confide in the astronaut about the escalating tensions between her parents; the absence of her oldest sister, Eleanor (who recently moved out); and 16-year-old sister Bess’s fixation on her boyfriend. Against the highly gendered backdrop of 1969 (all the girls want to marry astronauts, while the boys want to become them), Mamie’s friendship with her neighbor Buster is particularly moving. Mamie and Buster share a fixation on the space race, and Buster remains loyal and constant even as Mamie’s parents’ conflict erupts. Mamie’s isolation at home echoes Collins’s solitude in orbit a bit too neatly, but her bravery and loyalty are memorable. Ages 8–12. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 06/20/2017
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-250-15845-1
Ebook - 978-0-374-30387-7
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