I decided to read this book because it had freakin’ rave reviews on Goodreads. Unfortunately, it took everything in me to finish it. (Spoilers after the Read More)
The Martian, as a concept, is really cool. An astronaut is mistaken for dead and is left by his crew on Mars. Fortunately/unfortunately, he is far from dead. “The man on Mars” aka Mark Watney is a mechanical engineer and botanist and exactly the kind of person who could maaaaybe survive on Mars and (spoiler alert) he does. In fact, he survives a long freakin’ time (500+ sols) on Mars with the power of his brain and the minimal supplies he has. And that’s cool and all, but Mark is one of the most annoying characters I have ever encountered.
Mark Watney reminds me of these guys I used to know. They prided themselves on their nerdy-ness and I liked ’em enough, they were okay guys. And, like, they still are, I guess, but they’re those guys who sometimes just say something and you cover your face from second-hand embarrassment. I don’t know what I’d do if I was stuck in a room with them and, to me, Mark Watney is one of those guys. I honestly thought I could not finish this book. Reading this was like being stuck with this weird grown man who is a genius! he’s an astronaut for god’s sake! but he acts like he’s 12…and that’s so weird to me. Maybe I just don’t know many astronauts so who knows. Mark just comes off kind of like a jerk the entire time and I did not like him. Honestly, I barely cared if he lived or died which is not at all how I think he was intended to be received.
Maybe I’m too critical. Maybe there are people who would find his “humor” funny (see: those weird guys I used to know). It’s just…I don’t know, I bookmarked a few of the lines from the book that irked me so I could share them:
“My reply: ‘Venkat, tell the investigation committee they’ll have to do their witch-hunt without me. And when they inevitably blame Commander Lewis, be advised I’ll publicly refute it. Also please tell them that each and every one of their mothers are prostitutes.
P.S. Their sisters, too.'”
“[08:31]:JPL:….By the way, the name of the probe we’re sending is ‘Iris.’ Named after the Greek goddess who traveled the heavens with the speed of wind. She’s also the goddess of rainbows.
[08:47]WATNEY: Gay probe coming to save me. Got it.”
“So far, the rover and my ghetto life support are working admirably.”
Do you see what I mean? It sounds like I’m reading a journal that belongs some bratty little boy with an overactive imagination. I mean, maybe this is hilarious and I’m too ~PC~ or whatever but I just don’t find it funny at all.
That’s not to say there are no funny instances. I thought there were a few funny things (like when Watney decided Stayin’ Alive would be his theme song). And I guess I was kind of happy when he got saved, if only because I didn’t want the entire Earth to be sad because he died.
To be honest, the only thing that got me through this book was knowing that it is gonna be made into a movie. Supposedly, Matt Damon is going to be playing Mark. Matt Damon as Mark Watney made me think he isn’t as annoying as I’m imagining him to be. I mean, I like Matt Damon.
Anyway, I’m still glad I read this, glad I saw what the hype was about…but I just don’t think it lived up to it at all.