If, like me, you are lucky enough to have a great father, you could easily imagine him writing a book like Colonel Chris Hadfield’s recent bestseller, AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything. In fact, I think the only thing stopping my dad is that he was never an astronaut. He is, however, one of those guys who, like that scene in the film Apollo 13, could take a pile of routine household items and a roll of duct tape and fix almost anything. Admittedly, living on a tree farm in a house full of dogs, his specialties are fences, gates, and pooper-scoopers, but still—he can do more when presented with interesting challenges (e.g., he once built what my mother called “The Invention,” a step-stool/ladder so I could paint the ceiling above my staircase). And like Chris Hadfield, he has a flair for telling stories that teach lessons about how to live a decent life.
Hadfield’s memoir provides one added dimension that makes it a worthwhile read: it answers many questions about what it’s like to be an astronaut—not just the “during” of space flight, but also the “before” in which they practice countless simulations to anticipate and solve problems before they occur. Or as he calls it, “What’s the next thing that could kill you?”
Hadfield also offers some insights into the importance of the space program and how it has progressed over time. Sometimes, in our day-to-day lives, we forget that things are happening up there.
All in all, it’s a pretty cool read, and I think my dad will like it.