I Love You, Michael Collins
by Lauren Baratz Logsted
Readers ages 8-12
I didn’t want to like this book. Other readers’ reflections had created a bit of bias, and I was prepared to be equally (if not more so) critical.
Lucky for me, I opened the cover and let myself slip into the 1969 world of 10 year old Mamie. Before Snapchat, Google or the 24 news cycle. When the humble analog letter was the way we connected, and shared our thoughts and feelings.
Mamie’s story unfolds in parallel with the historic Apollo 11 launch, the flight to the moon, the first walk, and splash down; connected through her letters to astronaut Michael Collins.
As the mission timeline moves along, we learn that Mamie’s parents are not happy. And when Mamie’s mother walks out and her family begins to disintegrate, she relates to the loneliness and responsibility that Collins must feel in his role as the lone caretaker of his ship.
Since we all know the Apollo 11 story, I’ll not fill this review with spoilers about Mamie’s. What I can say is that I loved Mamie’s voice, heart and bravery and I long for a friend as steadfast as Buster, her neighbor and confidant. And even though Michael Collins is a far-away hero to us and to Mamie, he has a powerful, familiar presence in the story.
Lots of fun references to products and styles bring 1969 to life alongside plenty of narrative allowing us to relive one of the greatest adventures of all time as a 10 year old might have experienced it then.
This book has a lot of awards and endorsements and I’ll add my enthusiastic recommendation as well.