A Very Long Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

I’d like to tell you a little story about how I never listen to my dad. First, let me start by saying that when I was a kid my dad would always joke, “don’t trust your father.” Obviously he was kidding, but I did end up taking that lesson with me in two aspects: books and movies.

Movies are the easiest for me to explain. For a long time we would watch movies together that he wanted me to see and know of. I would always play it cool and say that they weren’t that great of movies (even though they were pretty fricken awesome). So whenever he recommended a movie to me he’d say, “don’t you trust me?” and I’d always say “No.” Of course this has changed, and if my dad recommends a movie now it goes immediately onto my watch-list…

…Except for Chappie, which he pitched to me as “it was so bad. You really shouldn’t watch it…. Actually, watch it and see how bad it is. It’s so bad.”

But books are different. My dad is an avid reader, albeit an incredibly slow reader, but he loves books. He got me addicted to fantasy and science fiction, and I’m forever grateful for that. However, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, I take books very seriously. I love when people give me recommendations so I can add them to my to-read list, but I don’t like being pushed into reading a book. I’m stubborn like my mom and the more you push me to read a book, the less likely I am to read that book out of sheer principle.

My dad is the King of Pushers. He will recommend a book, and I’ll usually find that book’s concept pretty interesting, but I’ll add it to my list and keep going through the books I already have lined up. This does not satisfy my dad. He will continually say, “You HAVE to read this book. When you’re done with your book, you NEED to read this one.” and when I finish my book, and start reading a different book, he’ll say the same things. Over and over again, until he gives up and reads a new book that I HAVE to read.

But something strange happened. I learned about the upcoming movie, The Martian, starring Matt Damon (and if you read my To See or Not To See post back in February you’ll know that I love Matt Damon. I really do. He’s wonderful. Also, my sister would hate me for saying this but Ben Affleck is not as attractive as everyone thinks. Matt Damon totally wins that contest, hands down), and realized it was a book. The second I found that out, I was hooked. I had to add it to my list.

But then my boyfriend and I went over to my parents house for dinner. I told my mom about this really cool new movie that’s coming out that has Matt Damon in it, about this guy that’s stuck on Mars and has to plant crops on Mars and survive, and it’s even a book! And to my surprise she said, “That sounds like the book that Dad’s reading.”

What?! My dad is reading a book I want to read before I even hear of it?? What alternate universe is this??

It turned out, he was reading The Martian. He recommended it instantly and said, “oh my God, Rae, you HAVE to read this. The writer reminds me so much of your writing style. It’s funny, written well, and you just have to read it.” But this time, I trusted him. (Note: Sorry, Dad, I’m learning how to trust you again. I know this dampens your street cred.)

What happened when I started reading The Martian, written by Andy Weirwas magical. The first page made me laugh, and I entered a world that was completely foreign to me, but I felt completely at ease.

The story is about a man who is believed to be dead on Mars, but he’s not. He needs to figure out a way to survive on Mars indefinitely, using only a small amount of resources. It’s so good.

Andy Weir’s writing style is so sarcastic, but so detailed and rich that it’s not like reading a book where the author just tries to be snarky, instead it’s actually like reading this man’s life, and reading what he’s going through – being Mark Watney’s friend. Weir is an incredible writer, with a ridiculous amount of knowledge when it comes to science and math (something that just went straight over my head), but always finds a way to make the characters relatable even with them being super science and math driven.

If I could give this book 500 stars out of 10, plus 15 high fives, and four thumbs-ups, I would. 18 Quatloo’s for you, sir!

Everyone needs to read this book before the movie comes out. I know I’ve mentioned a hundred times that I don’t necessarily think that seeing the movie first is a bad idea, but in this case: read the book first. The movie comes out October 2015, so you have a few more months to read it, even if you’re as slow of a reader as my dear old dad. Go get it!

All that said, I’d like to give a shoutout to my dad (as if there haven’t been enough in this post) for finally getting me to read one of the books he’s recommended. Good job, Pops. This is a big day for you.

If you’ve read this book, please comment below so we can discuss it because oh. my. god. All I want to do is talk about it right now. If there could be a The Martian chat room, I’d join it right now.

Until next time, blog family!

Rachel

email: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Book vs Movie: Gone Girl

It’s time for another Book vs Movie. Psycho murder conspiracy edition. I just finished Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl after weeks of only being able to read a little bit at a time. I have a confession though: I watched the movie first. I’ve mentioned before that I actually don’t find it horrible to watch the movie before reading the book. There are some cases when reading the book first is better (and that’s most of the time) but there are some books (like The Maze Runner) where you need that little bit of extra assistance to really get into the book. This book and movie combo is the former.

When I watched the movie Gone Girl it was because I really wanted to see it, and didn’t want to wait until I had read the book. I was too antsy. So I made the executive decision to go ahead and watch it… Holy crap. That movie is one plot twist after another. I won’t say anything to ruin the movie (or book) for anyone because honestly it just has to be seen to be believed. But I watched the movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I’ve ever seen — so I had to read the book.

I borrowed the book from my sister and started reading right away. For me, the story was kind of slow in the beginning simply because it was almost exactly like the beginning of the movie. It was like reading a screenplay rather than a novel. My issue here was that when I was watching the movie, I was completely enthralled within five minutes. And because the first part of the book (it’s written in three parts) was exactly like the movie, I felt like I was just watching the movie. No extra juicy details they had left out, no different plot twists – just a blow-by-blow of the movie (or rather the movie was a blow-by-blow of the book…hmm…) But nonetheless, the story was great to start out with, I just already knew what to expect.

I was starting to really wish I hadn’t seen the movie first only because the writing was so amazing. Flynn is one of those authors that can make even the most unlikable characters likable, but can also take away any shred of decency in that character in an instant. In Flynn’s case it’s really more of liking the character, unliking the character, liking the character, hating both characters, etc. So, because of all this, I was really starting to get down about it. I thought I had ruined the whole book by seeing the movie. Why did I ruin such a good thing?? But then I hit the last few chapters before Part Two, and oh my god was it amazing! I got to a point where I just refused to go to bed. I was like, “Nope. I know it’s 11:30pm and I know I have to get up early tomorrow, but nope. I’m just gonna keep reading. Que sera sera.”

And thus began my absolute love for this novel. I refuse to tell you anything about the actual story of the book, but I will summarize to you what the back cover/back of the dvd allows its audience to know: On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne reports his wife, Amy, missing. He acts very strangely, and even lies to the police, which causes everyone in their small town, including the police, to wonder if he had anything to with her disappearance.

Sounds like a simple whodunnit, right? Nope. Just…no.

This is one of the most interesting and edge-of-your-seat movies I have seen in a really long time. But this is one of those cases where I just wish I had read the book first. The book had so much more detail, and so many more plot twists. And even the characters were slightly different after the first part! Reading the second half of the book was like someone telling you ahead of time, “Dumbledore dies!” But then reading Harry Potter and finding out *SPOILERS* Snape killed him. It’s knowing one thing and reading another.

This book was excellently written, and wonderfully executed. It was a really great book. But don’t get me wrong! The movie was spectacular!! They chose all of the actors perfectly, and they truly did a better job turning a book into a movie than a LOT of other movies based off of books I’ve seen. I would say the movie was 90% accurate to the book, and that’s a big amount of correctness.

So yes, the movie was great. But hands down the book was better. Book: 3 Movie:2.

My sister argued, however, “The book didn’t have Ben Affleck’s penis in it, so the movie automatically wins.”

Valid point.

Until next time!

Rachel