Review: "An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth" by Chris Hadfield

  • Posted on: 28 June 2015
  • By: TedG

Submitted by Adrian

Six members of the Redbery Men’s Book Club reviewed Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth on June 18. Several of our members had some interesting histories with astronauts. John Sill worked with about half a dozen astronauts in training in the Navy, and trained a couple in flying F14’s. Ron talked about showing Russian Scientists film on the 1969 moon walk in 1974 at a time when Russian mostly believed the moon walk was a Hollywood stunt. Ron also discussed visiting near Star City the Soviet space program location outside Moscow.

Despite some interesting histories with astronauts our group’s support of the book was only lukewarm. Part of the problem was that only two of us had completely finished the book. Those who finished, said the second half was much better than the first half. In the first half Hadfield jumps around a lot discussing various parts of his background and the lessons he learned from these events. He talks about his astronaut experiences and how they provided lesson on how to live life. While somewhat interesting the events discussed became sort of random, and did not seem to follow any story line, and became somewhat tedious. In places he gets kind of preachy and starts to seem like a graduation speech where the speaker does not know when to stop and sit down.

But in the second half he does follow a more compelling storyline that makes you want to see what happens next. Scott read the excerpts of a return to earth that was full of drama as astronauts struggled with helmets and breathing tubes as they were descending to Earth.

Our average ratings on the book:

Readability: 2.58

Interest: 3.25

Would you read another book by this author? All said no.

I guess we have had couple books with an exciting story in the second half that trudges through a lot more background that most want or need in the first half, and results in several of us just giving up. The lesson from this book is that if you hang on, there is a good story in the second half. So if you are reading it and have not finished, it may be worth your time to do so.