*NO SPOILERS* I listened to this story by Andy Weir on
audiobook after a raving recommendation from a friend, and he was not wrong! The narrator, R.C. Bray, was great, and brought a lot more to the story for me than I could have had I read it. I laughed out loud multiple times throughout the book, which was largely due to the nature of the character Mark, but also because of the way the narrator delivered the story so well.
As for the book, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who finds himself on Mars, alone, when his crew is forced to leave him behind. The story focuses on Mark, though it weaves between Mars and Earth as NASA try to save him. At times, the scientific jargon may get too much for some, but I found it quite therapeutic listening to it, as strange as that may sound! I did not find it as dramatic or anxiety-inducing as you may think it may be when reading a story about a man who is abandoned on Mars, but the pragmatic way of dealing with the problem made it seem more realistic; as if trying to survive on Mars could actually happen, rather than a non-sensical, comic strip-type story line. I also appreciated that Weir did not make this into a soppy love story. It definitely could have gone that way – a man stuck on Mars away from his loved one – but there was none of that, and I think this strengthened the story. The protagonist was particularly well-written, and even now, some time after I read the book, I feel like I met Mark Watney, and know him well. Overall, I feel it was well written, gripping, and intriguing.
I saw the movie of the same name with my brother, and we thought it was great. It stayed close to the book for the most part, which is always a good feature of book-to-movie creations. Matt Damon portrayed the character well, and this movie has made me more of a fan of his than before. Because of the scientific nature of the story, I think there could be a risk at times for a viewer to become lost because some details were darted past at times, and I only understood because I had read the book (although my brother did not seem to be confused!). I feel the special effects may be seen as a let down, though the acting and overall portrayal of the story was done well.
This story is perhaps not something I would usually reach for, though, due to many good reviews and recommendations, I did, and I am glad, because it was interesting and gave me a look into the world of astronauts and the fight for survival.