Author: Scott Kelly
Kelly's history is the sort that is highly appealing to educators: he struggled in school but turned things around in college, eventually graduating from SUNY Maritime and becoming a Navy test pilot. Kelly provides another interesting twist in that he has an identical twin brother, Mark, who is also an astronaut.
In an interesting personal coincidence, our 15-year-old daughter has recently expressed interest in becoming an astronaut. I will encourage her to read this now as it will give her a realistic picture of the life. The military route is the most obvious - tough road for anyone and especially a woman. But there are other paths. Mind you, this is not a career idea I will actively encourage. Frankly, the idea terrifies me and Kelly did nothing to ease my concerns. Spacewalks in particular: clearly for crazy people.
I would not say the book is especially artfully written, though I suppose the blame for that goes to the ghost writer (Margaret Lazarus Dean) and/or young reader adapter (Emily Easton). Kelly is also rather blasé about the shortcomings of his emotional life - understandable given his profession but it detracted from my own engagement. That said, I did enjoy the read and it sparked my interest in the history of space exploration. Kelly's initial inspiration was The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. I've never read the book but the movie was one of my favorites as a kid. I think it's time for my daughter to see it. If only I could put it on the wrap-around screen at DC's Uptown theater for her. That's where I first saw it. I suppose I should read the book, too.
While on the ISS, Kelly read (and clearly drew title inspiration from) Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. I will admit that I never thought of the parallels between space exploration and polar exploration before. Now I'm intrigued.