05JoshA's Reviews > October Sky

October Sky by Homer Hickam
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's review
Oct 26, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

October Sky, or Rocket Boys, is by Homer Hickam. It is a memoir, which is kind of like an autobiography with only part of their life. When Homer Hickam was a kid, he lived in Coalwood, West Virginia, and everyone called him Sonny. The story he writes about starts in 1957, but continues for several years of his life.
Coalwood is a mining town, and everything in it belongs to the mine. The kids grow up to work in the mine, and the only ones to get out are the ones that leave for college on a scholarship, or to join the Army. Sonny Hickam wants another way. After seeing Sputnik, he tries to make his own rocket, but it blows up. He gets help from a nerdy but really smart kid named Quentin. They have a mine engineer make one for them. It still doesn’t work too good. They make more improvements, and eventually end up in the science fair. But in the meantime Sonny has to go through problems with his family, the mine, and other things too. They end up winning the science fair with their rocket designs, but afterwards Sonny has to move.
I thought that this was a really good book. What I liked was that they taught themselves how to make rockets, they had almost no support at first, but they got some. They helped the school to have a calculus class, they got the money for the rockets. They mixed the dangerous fuels. When sonny didn’t get into the calculus class, he learned on his own. “You told me Mr Turner wasn’t going to let you take calculus,” he said… “I’m learning on my own,” I answered and showed him the book I was using.
The audience it’s intended for is adult, and that is who I would recommend it to.
The main theme I saw was that people who try to do something can choose to be limited by people thinking they can’t. Luckily Sonny choose to not be limited.

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