Author: Mike Massimino
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
This memoir is practically bursting with optimism and good-natured persistence, with childhood dreams and childlike wonder, with passion for the space program and learning and exploration, and with a love of teamwork striving for world-changing goals.
Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino manages a seemingly impossible mix of being the guy next door or hometown kid made good (born to a middle class Italian family in Long Island, lover of the Mets, and chronic watcher and re-watcher of The Right Stuff), and the type of overachieving academic smarts that lends one to be chosen for the hyper-competitive space program (achieving degrees from bachelor's through doctorate at Columbia and MIT).
Massimino shares his journey to space, which started as he watched the 1969 space landing with amazement. The road was not direct, but he eventually worked to make good on his childhood dream to go into space (a dream shared by countless children). While this book obviously offers an insider's view of the space program, it never feels like an expose. Massimino clearly loved his time there and has nary a bad thing to say about the program, though he does take to task the slackening of national interest and the failure of more recent administrations and governments to have the vision and daring to continue space exploration.
The most memorable parts of the book were his descriptions of actually traveling to space, what it felt like, how it changed him. And the most heart rending portion was his first-hand account of what it was like to lose fellow astronauts, two of which he knew very well and considered close friends, in the Columbia accident.
A nicely executed memoir that, like its author, strives very hard to be positive and look for the greater good, and advises its readers to work in their life to do something meaningful.