Once Upon a Bookshelf – “I Love You, Michael Collins”

I Love You, Michael CollinsI Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Love You, Michael Collins is not a true story, but I’m sure it hits home with a lot of people when it comes to the “celebrities” that they look up to.

In this story, Mamie, is directed to write a letter to one of the three Apollo 11 astronauts. With most students picking Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin, Mamie takes a different route and writes to the main pilot, Michael Collins. Mr. Collins is almost never mentioned by anyone (most people don’t know who he even is) but Mamie takes it upon herself to let him know just how great he is.

A one time assignment to write a letter becomes a passion for Mamie. She writes him a letter almost everyday until the day he lands safely back on earth. She writes about her family problems, her best friend, Buster, her cat, Campbell, and asks him all sorts of questions about his life and family.

What I love most about this book is that she is rooting for the underdog. I’m sure there is a better way to say that, but I can’t think of one currently. Mamie learns everything she can about this man and comes to find out that it was a struggle for him to get to where he is. She also realizes that he may be the most important one on the Apollo 11 mission; without him, no one will get home.

The emotions that Mamie goes through during the story are vivid in her messages to Mr. Collins. Haven’t you ever just wanted to tell someone everything that’s on your mind? Although she had never met this man and he didn’t get most of her letters before his trip to space, she feels confident that he’s reading them and that he cares. Back when a time when there was no social media to connect with people that we admire, letter writing was the only way to go and there are no “read receipts” for snail mail.

I thought that some of the issues that Mamie had to deal with, like both of her parents more or less abandoning her and her sisters being unaware of how to take care of a ten year old were a little too much for this story. I understand she needed something to write to Mr. Collins about but it just seemed weird and out of place and something that wouldn’t actually happen, even in 1969 (but I could be wrong).

If you love space, diaries, the moon, and kids becoming friends with adults, then this is a book for you. It will make you smile, laugh, and even cry a little but it’s a story with heart.

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