Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Oh the humanity! The agony!

I missed my computer more, than I want to admit, lying in my bed for weeks, with a immobilizing back injury, listening to my phone chime online interactions that I could not have cared less about. While I lay writhing in the agony of lower back pain that allowed me no respite and no comfortable position for my body to be in, I would occasionally allow my my mind to wander to the list of books already read and in need of reviewing. The idea of sitting at a computer was laughable (if I had been capable of laughter). I sometimes considered the list of books still to be read, some of which, not long ago, I couldn’t wait to start. You know it is really bad when I cannot even summon the enthusiasm to read a book. Modern medicine is a miracle and while pain is not yet a memory and mobility and endurance are still issues. I am beginning to get back into the swing of things. I have begun to check in with social media, proven I can sit at the computer for more than just a few minutes at a time and it is time to get back to that list of reviews that some authors have been so patiently waiting for. Time to fill out the pathetically empty halls of this blog.

I must give credit where credit is due. First to my amazing husband who has been valiantly picking up the slack with house and kid chores. I could rest easier knowing our boy well taken care of. Yes, Hub’s idea of cooking generally includes take out, though he does make a mean penne marinara. Yes, his idea of house cleaning generally involves sitting at a computer, but the boy has had clean socks and a fresh lunch every morning for school. Something else Hubs has are terrific ideas on what I should read next. He never actually suggests a book outright. He just sort of starts reading the book and leaves it where I can see it, I do the rest.

Next, I will give credit to the book. It is a book that Hubs has been trying to read for  while. Knowing it would take him a while to get through a book with all his extra responsibilities, he checked the audio version out from the library hoping to listen to it during his nightly walks. Then the silly MP3 player broke. Finally, needing to make change for a school/son thing, he broke down and bought the paperback. It has been sitting on the bathroom cart for over a week now. ::Possible TMI:: Normally, I am a get your business done and get on with your life kind of gal in the bathroom. This week though, I have been in a just rest until you can find the strength to go back to bed kind of phase. So, I would pick up the book and read a page now and then out of sheer boredom. One day though the book miraculously made it back to the bedroom with me and for three glorious hours I was on a quest to see how the story ends. It was so nice to care again, to need to know how the story ends. I suppose that any book would have done when I was ready to get back to work, but I would like to believe that this particular book was one I could really relate to just now, that this story of perseverance and hope was a great inspiration. When my son picked it up and started reading and reading and reading and then downloaded it to his tablet so he could read it at school, I knew I needed to tell someone what I think about this book. Seriously, getting me back on track in one thing. Inspiring my reluctant reader is a whole other thing.
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2011

The Martian is currently a major motion picture starring Matt Damon. (Great casting in my opinion.) A birthday request from my boy means I will actually get to see it in the theater. From the trailer I can see some changes from the book, that is simply how the world works. I am glad that I got to read it first, though I usually try to see a movie first so the book doesn’t ruin it.

The Martian is the story of NASA astronaut Mark Watney who gets mistakenly left behind on Mars when his science team must evacuate the planet quickly. He is left with the task of surviving on the planet until a future mission, some long time away, can relieve him. Food, water and oxygen are of paramount importance and of course, not available on the red planet. Not to mention, no one knows yet that he is still alive and it wouldn’t matter if they did. Help is a minimum of months away. In his situation there are no small problems and the smallest thing can become a huge problem in a breath.

Watney’s plucky perseverance gets him through most obstacles, but it soon becomes obvious that he can’t do it alone. What happens next is a testament to humanity. To rescue this castaway, national interests must be ignored, ideological differences must be set aside, petty politics can have no place and personal interests must be eschewed.

Kudos to Mr. Weir for keeping the science in this story believable and real. It would have been so easy to invent fantastical technology and scientific breakthroughs to keep Watney alive. Anyone who has been just slightly following recent missions to Mars will be able to keep up with the science presented. Even so, science isn’t the hero here. Mark Watney survives on the planet for as long as he does because of the curiosity, tenacity, and ingenuity of the human spirit.

In the end it doesn’t matter if Watney survives his ordeal. It doesn’t matter if he is rescued from the planet or even if his body ever makes it back to Earth. This story is not about Mark. It is about what can be accomplished in the World when it pulls together towards a single goal.

This Bookworm gives “The Martian” 5 Tomes

5 stars

I am looking forward to reading more from Andy Weir. I fully recommend this book for Young Adults and up. There is some language and adult humor.


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