The best thing about this book? Mike Massimino is a regular guy. He’s a guy you’d want to sit down and have a beer with, the guy who might be your kid’s cub scout leader, or your neighbor who lets you borrow the edger. This book is about Mike’s rise to superhero astronaut, and all the bumps, failures, and doubts along the way. He’s a regular person (albeit a super-smart, courageous one), and look what he did!
Mike doesn’t dwell too long on his childhood in New York, but does include some important aspects about his growing up that helped him along his path. The meat of the story is his quest (at times thought quixotic) to work for NASA and eventually become an astronaut. Unlike many memoirs, this book focuses only on the important parts of the story, and doesn’t include every anecdote or biographical tangent. It’s tight, entertaining, fascinating, and, most importantly, honest. It’s not overwhelming with scientific explanations. This is a human interest story. At times, my palms were actually sweating while reading about Mike’s first EVA on his flight to repair the Hubble.
And Mike didn’t write this book to make himself look like a hero. He doesn’t leave out the doubts, the fears, the downright terrors, he experienced, both during his studies and exams and also while in space. He even talks about having imposter syndrome, feeling that he wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or prepared enough to go into space. But time and again, he was tested, and he was the right man for the job. That’s a real struggle a lot of us mortals can identify with, which only makes this book more intriguing. I was amazed at the lengths he went to in order to overcome deficits, even to the point of not accepting that his vision wouldn’t pass him into astronaut training. He was going to have 20/20 vision no matter what. For Mike, there is no door that is completely closed.
Spaceman gets five big ol’ stars from me. This is a book for everybody. I’m passing this on to my middle-schooler, who wants to work for NASA as soon as humanly possible. Whether you’re interested in space exploration or not (and if not, what’s wrong with you?), this is a story that everyone can relate to. Mike Massimino is my new hero. Read Spaceman, and he’ll be your hero too. I only hope that maybe if I write him a fan letter he’ll send me an autographed photo. How about it, Mike?
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.