Tuesday, September 4, 2012
REVIEW: Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich
Genre: Adult Nonfiction, True Crime, Popular Science
Audience: Older Teen/Adult
Summary: Banished by his family at the age of nineteen, Thad Roberts was headed for a dead-end life when he suddenly grasped onto the unlikley dream of becoming an astronaut. By that time he was well into his twenties, but with the combination of hard work, natural intelligence, and a hefty dose of charm he eventually made his way into an elite NASA co-op program. But Thad's need for constant challenge, paired with a desire to impress his new girlfriend, led him to risk everything by orchestrating the theft of a priceless lunar sample, aka moon rocks.
First Line: "It had to be the strangest getaway in history."
Despite a few quibbles, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this "amazing story behind the most audacious heist in history," read by Casey Affleck. The story of Thad Robert's background and his improbable rise to such a coveted position is fascinating. I also enjoyed the "space geek" aspect of the book; I loved the descriptions of the Johnson Space Center, its work culture, and its accomplishments. In fact, the lead up to the robbery itself was so compelling that the actual theft and its aftermath were a bit of a letdown. The first half of this book is definitely the highlight, though caper fans may still find something to enjoy in the heist itself. Personally, I felt crucial details were glossed over and Thad's motives were somewhat underdeveloped. (Although, in Mezrich's defense this is based on a true story, and sometimes criminals' motives aren't exactly rational.) It is interesting to note that this book is written by the author of The Accidental Billionaires, and the team at Sony behind its film adaptation (The Social Network) have optioned the film rights to Sex on the Moon as well.