This next book isn’t from my Challenge 2020, instead this is one recommended by someone very close and very important and special to me.
“There’s a lot of love and peace in the air…but not necessarily in the air around me.”
My favourite kind of books is those that are recommended to me by someone because you know it means something to them. That somewhere in the pages of the book, be it fiction or non-fiction, fairytale or horror; is something that hit a chord with that reader. It could be the realisation of how you feel about someone or it could be a chance for an escape from the real world. We all need that sometimes, don’t we?
“When you’ve shared a moment with the whole world, it can be hard to know precisely where your memories end and everyone else’s begin.”
This book is a combination of autobiography and biography which is perfectly blending with memoirs and memories alike. It’s about the moon-landings and those first astronauts who set foot on the moon in the 1960s and 70s. In 1999, Andrew Smith is sat interviewing Charlie Duke, an astronaut and one of those who has walked on the moon. During the interview, the phone rings for Charlie to find out that one of his fellow moon walkers, Pete Conrad has died.
“‘Now there’s only nine of us…”
This quote is what started Andrew Smiths mission and the book – out of 12 moonwalkers only 9 moonwalkers left, soon there will be none. The fear that once they’re all gone and no-one would be able to recount the feeling of staring back on planet Earth shook Smith enough to start his own mission – to find and interview the remaining moonwalkers.
Each moonwalker has their own tale to tell and their own feelings on how it affected them and changed them, in both the best and worst ways. Smith also asks them all a question: “Where do you go after you’ve been to the moon?”
“It’s time to go home.”
This book is terrifying and amazing all in the same breath. It retells the history and the memoirs, the excitement and wonder, the awe of heroism to those brave few who left the Earth’s atmosphere and risked everything. It also tells us the scary realisation that not all astronauts could accept the Earth, their own familiar home, once they had returned.
“…all that is best in humanity appears to have been driven by everything that is worst.”
I also loved how Andrew Smith recounted his own memories, of watching the moon landing on the television and hearing it on the radio with his family and being in complete awe and amazement. I genuinely cannot even begin to imagine how it must have felt for the general public to be watching or listening, hanging on to every last word. I’m not sure anything quite that special will happen in my lifetime and it saddens me.
“When I think about my life, I’m always thinking, ‘I hope I live long enough to do all the stories I know.’ And I know I’m not gonna, ‘cos I got a list over there and it keeps getting a little bit longer.”
Were any of you around when the moon landings happened? How did you feel? What are your memories? I would love for you to share them with me! Comment below.
Find this super interesting read on Amazon
Keep an eye out for my next Challenge 2020 review which will be Secrets by Freya North.
Until next time,