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“The Martian: A Novel” (Not A True Story)


Apparently I’ll need to be stuck on Mars with a lot of time on my hands to finish my list of 40 books to read for my 40th birthday. Admittedly, it took much longer to read this book than I anticipated, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the book either. Life took some unexpectedly crazy turns recently – nothing as serious as being abandoned on Mars, but serious enough that my attention was elsewhere for a while.


Full disclosure: I had seen the movie prior to reading the book. Normally, I would prefer to read a book before watching the film, but in this case, I’m actually glad I consumed the movie before the book. In fact, I downright enjoyed the fact that I had seen the movie first because the book took me on an expanded journey of a familiar story that I had already fallen in love with. Instead of silently yelling at a movie screen, “No, you forgot this part! And that’s not what happened!” I found myself delighted by the new tidbits of story unfolding before me. Sure there were differences in the cinematic version versus the literary version, but those differences were merited given the distinct nature of film and literary media.

Most notably different was the end. Clearly, Hollywood wanted something visually dramatic and poignant to end the blockbuster movie. I’m not sure if it was because I saw the movie and the end was so different, but I found the end of the book to be somewhat anticlimactic. Overall though, the movie did an excellent job of staying true to the story in the book.

The one thing I really liked about this book (and movie) was that it wasn’t just a comedy, or drama, or action story. It’s all of those and much more. It’s a story about the enduring human spirit. I highly recommend that you pick up the book, particularly if you enjoyed the movie.

And in case anyone is still wondering… no, “The Martian” is not based on a true story. Buzzfeed cleared that up fairly succinctly.

Next up… something a bit less ‘meaty’. I’ll be reading something from one of my favourite authors, Mr. Stephen King. Two down, 38 to go.

M. xo

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