The Martian by Andy Weir. An astronaut is stuck on Mars after the rest of the crew made an emergency departure, leaving Mark Watney behind, whom they assumed was dead. Now Mark, a mechanical engineer with a Master’s in botany is alone on an unforgiving and desolate planet trying to plan how he’ll stay alive four years until the next mission is due to land.
Mark has to take all the leftover objects from the mission and produce life: water, soil, food—a daunting undertaking. It’s kind of like I feel in the mornings when I dump out my makeup bag and give myself the pep talk, “Okay, let’s make this work.”—only on a much more dire, life-or-death level.
What I really liked is that this super smart man relays his thoughts and calculations in a language a dummy like me could kind of grasp—or at least tolerate for the most part. His laid-back style makes him approachable. He even has a sense of humor. He’s more human than those geniuses who stiffly spew out scientific data that whizz over my head in a nebulous atmosphere. On some basic levels I could relate to this man—maybe it was really all the 70's shows I can relate to.
It was interesting to see the workings of his analytical mind—to see how he takes huge, seemingly insurmountable problems, divides them into smaller chunks and chips away at one solution at a time. It brings to mind a favorite saying of my sister and her husband—“How do you eat an elephant?—One bite at a time.”
Sci-fi is not a genre I normally read. My niece recommended it. But this faced-paced, action-packed book had me from line one: “I’m pretty much f******.”
The book was made into a movie and is out in theaters right now starring Matt Damon. My husband, who also read the book, and I went and saw it and really liked it. There are some tiny changes but not enough to ruin it.
My book club elected to read The Martian and it received thumbs-up all around. While a couple people mentioned that the math seemed to bog the book down at first, they quickly learned to glaze over it like they did in math class, and then it was smooth sailing! One member said it was the best book we've read!
This book met a several of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a suspense/thriller; read a book your significant other has read; read a book out of your comfort zone; read a book with only two words in the title; buy a book from your local bookstore; and read a book that has or will become a movie.
What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com