Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Incredible. This is a beautiful book. The story was already familiar (because of the October Sky movie), but this memoir far surpasses the excellence of the film adaptation. Not only was the writing beautiful, but the entire narrative was so purely honest. Sonny's emotions and recollections are untainted by pride or shame: he recounts his adolescence with palpable honesty, lacking any affectation.
The relationship Sonny has with his father is intensely complex, the reader not knowing how to feel. The pain of both father and son is real.
Besides the fact this is a memoir, the characters are accessible and real. I came to know the characters in some semblance of how Sonny knew them. Just as important as any of the characters is the town itself. While Coalwood as a mining town is dying, it's an integral aspect of Sonny's adolescence, a representation of all that Sonny wanted to run away from and couldn't ever abandon completely. All of Coalwood was the Rocket Boys; the Rocket Boys' success was not the six boys' alone but rather an achievement of the entirety of this fading mining town.
I could go on and on. I will reread this book several times over throughout the rest of my life. It makes it onto my top 10 list. It's beautiful.
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