When I first saw the previews for the new movie starring Matt Damon called “The Martian,” I was definitely interested. Shortly afterwards, I found out that the movie is based on a book of the same title by Andy Weir. Being a true worshiper of the written word, I proclaimed that I would not see the movie before reading the book. In a shocking twist, the book was gifted to me by my husband who very much wants to see the movie in theaters. Being the dutiful wife that I am, I brought the book on our honeymoon so I could finish it as quickly as possible.
In case you haven’t seen the preview, “The Martian” follows Mark Watney’s struggle to survive after being left behind on Mars. It was a freak accident that led to his situation – a major storm blew in and forced his crew into an early evacuation of their mission. During this storm, an antenna pierces Mark’s suit and breaks the part of his suit that communicates to the group his vitals. The crew has to accept that he has died and get off the planet before they too suffer the same fate. The book starts off with Mark recovering consciousness and basically coming to the conclusion that he is fucked.
Part of what is so much fun about this novel is what a lovable dork Mark Watney is; his good humor helps to keep his own morale up as he tries to deal with this impossible situation. “In high school, I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. (You may not have guessed this botanist/mechanical engineer was a bit of a nerd in high school, but indeed I was.)” (The Martian, pg 23/24). There are constant moments throughout the novel that I found myself reading aloud to my husband just because whatever Mark Watney said made me laugh. I especially liked: “If you asked every engineer at NASA what the worst scenario for the Hab was, they’d all answer “fire.” If you asked them what the result would be, they’d answer “death by fire.”” (The Martian, pg 29).
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Martian” and delving into the mind of Mark Watney. He was such a loveable character and you couldn’t help but cheer for him. There was a fair amount of technical language and math/science thrown in the novel, but it wasn’t overwhelming. This was largely in part to the ever-present humor, which made this such a great read. I hope that Andy Weir continues writing; he did a hell of a job on his first book.