SEL Books: TL789.85.H53 A3 1998
This is easily the most accessible book in the SEL collection that I’ve read so far. My 13-year-old nephew read parts of it for science class.
I particularly recommend this book for young people. I suspect that it could spark interest in the sciences for young people who previously believed themselves uninterested, in the same way that Sputnik captured the imagination of the young Homer “Sonny” Hickam.
But it isn’t a didactic work. Its purpose is to capture a time and space—a West-Virginia mining town in the late 1950’s. And it succeeds. Hickam looks with unblinking eye at the town that nurtured him, but that he longed to escape. Sonny’s struggle is personified in the figure of his father, who struggles with his own iron-fisted desire to mold his son into his own ideal.
More than anything, this book is about hope—how it motivates and transforms those whose circumstances are not conducive to realizing their dreams. One must have hope to transcend the mundane and reach (sometimes literally) for the stars.
(Originally published in Connections, April 2006)