"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 Simpson begins this saga from the summer of 1969 - incredulous that no one else in her neighbourhood sees this new comer for the lying scondrel he is. It is true as we read further into the story Muscle Man McGinty we see that this child has a predilction for exaggeration unlike anything you have seen before. He is training for the Olympics, Neil Armstrong is his Uncle but when he challenges the whole street to a game of kick ball bragging he can beat them single handed Tamara senses all will soon be put to rights.
Set against the backdrop of the historic moon walk Nan Marino explores what makes lasting memories and impressions on us. Tamara's best friend Kebsie has disappeared with no forwarding address. Her brother is away at College but there is still the underlying conflict between him and their father lingering in the home. There is something unusual about the way everyone is treating Muscle Man McGinty but Tamara is the last one to understand it - she is too caught up in her hatred of this usurper of her friend Kebsie. Tamara makes an interesting narrator - someone who always seems to be attracting trouble and totally unaware of the feelings of others because she is lost in her own feelings of emptiness at the loss of her friend. A quick read that has real depth.
Nan Marino's website