My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle Brandeis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
In the year 1966 in Downers Grove, Illinois, Mina is convinced that she and her family are the Lincoln family members reincarnated; her father’s initials even spell ABE! She believes, almost to the point of obsession, that she is Lincoln’s reincarnated son Willie, that her mother is Lincoln’s wife, and that her siblings are Lincoln’s other sons. When her father’s interest in the Civil Rights movement grows and he starts attending meetings in Chicago (and sometimes he brings her along), Mina is sure that this is his Lincoln spirit shining through.
Although Mina is proud of her father for becoming so involved in social justice, she is terrified that his fate will be that of Abe Lincoln’s—that he’ll die if she doesn’t watch out for him. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Mina’s mother grows suspicious of her father’s activities with others in the Movement, and people in the neighborhood who don’t believe in social justice are rude to her family. Will things ever change?
This is a good story written for many reasons, the biggest of which is that it takes place in Downers Grove! It was so neat reading about The Avery Coonley School and Busy Bee Bakery; about how Mina and her family would walk down Main Street together. Although Mina is a hypochondriac who believes her family members house the souls of the Lincoln Family, she’s a very likable character who manages to figure many things out by the end of the story. Recommend Pat Murphy’s The Wild Girls to those who enjoyed this book.
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