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Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

Review

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery

When you think of astronauts, you probably think of very smart individuals, rocket scientists, people who excelled in their academic studies. But retired astronaut Scott Kelly does not fit that description, at least not entirely. Granted, he is smart and is now a rocket scientist, but his school career was far from stellar. In his memoir, ENDURANCE, Kelly talks about his struggles in the classroom and how he barely scraped by to pass his courses. He had a difficult time concentrating during classes and didn't really have much of an interest in anything until he read Tom Wolfe’s THE RIGHT STUFF, which inspired him to become a pilot and eventually an astronaut.

"Kelly has a writing style that is personal, drawing you into his orbit (pun intended) when he's telling stories about his life and his time in space."

Kelly starts the book with a description of what his body felt like after returning to earth from his record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station. Trying to adjust to the forces of gravity, which is something he didn’t have to deal with for months, his whole body hurt, he was nauseous and his legs were swollen. Coming back to earth from a long trip to space and weightlessness sure doesn't sound like much fun.

Kelly was already a veteran space traveler by the time he embarked on this year-long stint, and now he holds the title for most consecutive days spent in space by an American (340 to be exact). He fills in the back story of his life by alternating chapters that start with his birth and end with his historic spaceflight. He touches on a number of interesting subjects: what it was like growing up with a twin brother, Mark, who was more focused and was a better student than he was; his first wife and his two daughters; the shooting that nearly took the life of his sister-in-law, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords; and the grueling training he went through to become an astronaut.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ENDURANCE. Kelly has a writing style that is personal, drawing you into his orbit (pun intended) when he's telling stories about his life and his time in space. He offers a level of openness and honesty that is refreshing, and lends a new perspective to the space program and the impact that trips to space have on those who make them. Kelly believes that future space travel to Mars will eventually become a reality and seems excited about that possibility. His love of space is infectious, and perhaps it will inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on November 9, 2017

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery
by Scott Kelly

  • Publication Date: October 17, 2017
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN-10: 1524731595
  • ISBN-13: 9781524731595