Deb's Reviews > Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
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's review
Jan 09, 11

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, pop-science, humor
Recommended for: people who to be an astronaut or grew up dreaming they did

I've learned how to best increase your chance of survival in an elevator crash, how jogging breaks your bones (and why that's good), and what the definition of a good friend is.

I enjoy Roach's sense of humor, but what spoils this book are an awful lot of gripes about unreturned phone calls and e-mails thrown into the text. Enough mentions that, when I think about what I'm going to write a review on, that's the main thing that comes to mind. It's silly and distracting -- of course a lot of people aren't going to return calls about classified stuff. Of course they're not going to jeopardize their career for a pesky journalist, even one who writes as nicely as Roach does.

As if aware of this backlash, Roach has begun slipping in short, one-sentence physical or emotional summaries of each of her interviewees. They are usually quite complimentary (do I need to know how attractive most of the scientists are? well, maybe. I do want to find me a smart babydaddy) and the descriptions tell instead of showing. bah.

Now that saying the grumpy stuff is out of the way, it's a pretty kick-ass book.

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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Thanks, Deb - I'll put it on my hold list and love your review.

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