Well, lovely readers, I may have completed my goal but that doesn’t mean I’m done reading for the year! (Or ever). Luckily, there are still millions of great books out there for me to read for the first, or hundredth, time. Also, kudos if you understood that Kid Cudi reference. It’s one of the very few hip hop references I’m capable of making.
I’d been debating picking up The Martian, by Andy Weir, for a really long time. I mean, look at the cover! It draws you in. I just wasn’t sure if it was really something I wanted to read. Would it be really depressing? I had other reading plans, so was it really worth the money? I went through all of those questions about 50 times in my head – each time I ran my fingers over the book at a bookstore.
But for this reason or that, I just never pulled the trigger and bought it. Oh well, I didn’t really think I was missing anything. And then, honestly, came the movie trailers. The trailers were so well done – and I’m a big fan of Matt Damon – that I became pretty interested. I didn’t want to see the movie, though, because I hadn’t read the book.
So a couple of Saturdays ago, when I was admittedly just trying to get an hour away from a needy puppy, I went to Barnes & Noble. Obviously? Yeah, I guess obviously. So I was reading a book I already had, and when I finished it, I browsed. And there it was: The Martian, with its original cover, not the movie tie-in. I couldn’t resist. Picked it up without a second thought.
And boy, was I glad I did.
REVIEW: The Martian, Andy Weir
Published: 2011 (self) and 2014 (Crown)
Plot: Astronaut Mark Watney is just one of the six-member Ares 3 crew working on Mars… until the unthinkable happens. Let by a crew who thinks he is dead, Watney must learn to survive on an unsurvivable planet if he’s ever to hope of returning home.
Most Memorable Line(s): “Life is amazingly tenacious. They don’t want to die any more than I do.”
-This little bit of optimism, when Mark is talking about bacteria, was just such a wonderful moment of sunshine in this novel, which in most cases operated under a cloud of “oh god oh no oh god.”
What I liked: This book was FUNNY. Literally, laugh out loud funny. And that’s just something I never expected to happen. How could a book about a man marooned on Mars be funny? Well, I’m still not sure, but it was! Yes, there was that gigantic fear eating away at me the whole time – will he survive?! – but Weir made this book funny. And I love him for it. What was also really, really interesting about this book was the different POVs Weir utilized. I won’t lie, I was massively surprised when the book began in Watney’s first person POV. I expected it to be third person omniscient, where we heard everyone’s thoughts and it was as though we watched it happen from the sky. Instead, we saw Watney’s first person, and then had third person for the rest of the scenarios – his crew, mission control on earth, and the moments where we needed to be that eye in the sky, seeing what happened. It was all put together in such an interesting way. Weir did a great job of developing the minor characters as well – obviously, Watney had most page-time. I cared about the other crewmates, and I was interested in the people at NASA, as well. I thought they all added something to the book. Mark Watney, though, was clearly the star and Weir justifiably and remarkably treated him as such. Weir’s ability to give Watney such a level-headed approach to a terrifying situation made him all the more compelling.
What I didn’t like: Though I understand that this was necessary, there were times when the “scientific” explanations really slowed the pace of the book. Luckily, Weir understood that not everyone loves science, so he didn’t go too in depth. But when there were long stretched of just Mars, it could get a teensy bit slow for my taste.
Grade: 9.5/10…a completely original book that was funny, heartbreaking, and thrilling all at once. Minor pace issues.