by Andy Weir
It’s book club night! Tonight we will be watching The Martian after discussing the book. I’ve already seen the movie, but I loved it and have had the book on my to be read list for a while. I was very happy for the excuse to bump it up the list. I loved this book. Yes, some of the technical details went over my head, but I enjoyed how Weir used Mark Watney’s character to describe them in a tangible and understandable way. For me the book started slow, but exponentially sped up and had me on the edge of my seat (and this is a feat considering I already knew what happened). I also laughed SO much. The book was hilarious in a really good way.
Mark Watney is one of 6 crew members who have traveled to Mars. In a tragic twist, a nasty storm picks up and Watney is speared by an antenna and thought to be dead. His crew leaves Mars, and unknowingly leaves a living Watney. When Watney comes to he realizes he is alone and begins his quest to stay alive. The rest of the book flashes between Watney and NASA and everything Watney does in order to cheat death. This is where the humor comes in. Watney has loads of it and it’s what keeps the book moving and interesting instead of bleak and miserable. At one point Watney needs to tape string to a trailer and he says, “Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.” Another time Watney is commenting on his meager fair as his food supply is dwindling, “I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’. (Side note, I’m laughing as I type this.) I experimented with potato skin tea a few weeks ago. The less said about that the better.” I was literally laughing out loud many times as I read The Martian. Spoiler: I loved, loved, loved the ending . . . Watney makes it off of Mars alive! I’m so happy he didn’t die. I loved his monologue at the end of the book so much that I’m going to quote it here:
“The cost for my survival must have been hundred of millions of dollars. All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother? Well, okay. I know the answer to that. Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we’ve dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side.”
In short, I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Martian.
Summing it up: I highly recommend this book. It was a great read.
All the best, Abbey