Yes, it's basically non-fiction, but it reads like a novel. Never a boring section, and it gives both a
good picture of a coal mining town and the impact of the space program on the nation. Much better than the movie!
Being a huge fan of the film "October Sky", I was a bit reluctant to read the memoir upon which it was based, "Rocket Boys". I was afraid one might dwarf the other but both are equally engaging, funny, and poignant. This is Homer Hickam story of growing up in a West Virginia coal mining town in the late 1950s and the attempt of a group of friends to escape the coal mining life by following their dream of building rockets. I highly recommend both the book and the movie.
October Sky, originally published in 1998, under the title Rocket Boys, is a heartwarming, well-written story that readers young and old will enjoy. Homer Hickam, the son of the mine's superintendent and a patient, encouraging mother, gives the reader a first hand look into his dying community, the relationships that shaped his life and the obstacles he had to overcome in order to reach the stars. His mother, instrumental in bringing her son's visions to fruition, allows Homer and his friends to use the Hickam basement, as well the kitchen, to mix their chemical compounds. Despite the loss of several sets of pots and pans, the backyard fence and the house's hot water heater, Homer's mother endures and with the help of Homer's science teacher, encourages the efforts of the boys and their Big Creek Missile Agency. Hickam writes candidly about the volatile relationship between his parents and the contrast in their visions for their son's future. As opposed to his mother, Hickam's father, a dedicated company man, was unable to recognize the dismal future facing his town. At the same time, he did not believe that Homer had any chance of achieving his dreams, because no one had ever left the town without earning a football scholarship as a ticket out. Hickam's depiction of is efforts to win the respect of his father is touching and memorable
This book starts slow but if you can hang in 'til the 2nd CD it builds to a wonderfully rich story full of complex and interesting characters and depicts a way of life long gone - stoic, working people of strength and character. The narration works well.
Rocket Boys, the original title for this book (and an anagram of October Sky), is a classic tale of a boy doing extraordinary things to win the love of his father. Sonny Hickam has written this memoir, based on the events that truly effected his life as he came of age in a tiny mining town in the mountains of West Virginia. As with most true stories, we sometimes root for the characters, and sometimes we shake our heads with annoyance, and wonder over how things really happen.
Homer "Sonny" Hickam is an accomplished writer whose story is easy to follow. It begins slowly, however, as we are given the background needed to see the people and places the story will envelop. This orderly attack is likely due to the fact that a retired Engineer from NASA does things in a planned and orderly fashion. Before long, however, you are struggling with Sonny to learn Calculus, to figure out girls, to race down mountain roads at breakneck speeds, and to carry the hopes and dreams of your buddies, your school, and your community into the national spotlight.
Do not let the slow beginning deter you from reading this wonderful story. And unlike most novels you read we know not just the ending of the story but also what becomes of the story's major characters in their future.
You are going to remember this book for a long time.
I enjoyed the progression as these young men developed an understanding of the mathmatic principles of rocketry. There were a few parts which many may think add to the readability of this book but I think were not necessary.
This book also gives insight to the ways of coal mining and the effect it has on the miners and their families. It's a good read.
This is a fascinating, very entertaining memoir by Homer Hickman, a NASA engineer. Hickman's story of growing up in the 1960s in a small West Virginia mining town with a group of friends who dreamed of launching rockets to space. Hickman grew up to become not only a rocket scientist but also an excellent writer!
I saw the movie first, and the whole family loved it. The book's a bit different, with more details, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable account of young men in a gritty mining town who dream of space exploration in the days of Sputnik and manage to make their dreams a reality.
The events in the book predate me by just a few years, and I remember how we were all glued to the TV for the Apollo missions as I grew up. This is a well-told true story, and I can't imagine what all they cut in making the movie of the same name (book original title was "Rocket Boys").
True story about teenager from West Virginia who became a NASA engineer. Details life in coal mining town in the early 1960's as well as his rocket adventures with his high school friends aka the Rocket Boys.
I love this book. It is such a neat story about the details of living in a small community, the excitement of following Sonny as he develops his knowledge of rocket science, and the heart-warming support of his parents.
I really liked this book. I couldn't stand the swearing or the teenage boy talk about girls (or even how the girls acted, Oh my goodness!) but I liked the story. These boys never gave up, against all odds. Homer had a vision, his friends caught it and it became a goal for the whole town.
This was an amazing coming-of-age book, similar in many regards to Stephen King's novella, The Body. That was later turned into the movie, Stand By Me.
Rocket Boys / October Sky is based on a true story, and it's well worth the read. The science of rockets, the lives of Appalachian coal miners, and the dreams of teenagers in the late 1950's are real and captivating. I highly recommend this book!
Have you ever finished reading a book, closed its covers and said to yourself, or even out loud, "God, I which I had written this!" That's what kind of book this is.
I was a teenager by the end of the 50s. I remember Sputnik. I remember the music and the clothes and the different cliques of kids, in and out of school. I've read other books on the coalfields and the men who mined the coal and ran the companies. This is a work of non-fiction, and not only are the people in this book real, but the author makes you understand they are real.
I've already been over to DVDSwap and WLed the movie.
Originally published as Rocket Boys, inspired the Universal Pictures film. Holds your attention from beginning to end!
It was 1957, the year Sputnik raced across the Appalachian sky, and the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia, was slowly dying.
Faced with an uncertain future, Homer Hickam nurtured a dream: to send rockets into outer space. The introspective son of the mines superintendent and a mother determined to get him out of Coalwood forever, Homer fell in with a group of misfits who learned not only how to turn scraps of metal into sophisticated rockets but how to sustain their hope in a town that swallowed its men alive.
As the boys began to light up the starry skies with their flaming projectiles and dreams of glory, Coalwood, and the Hickams, would never be the same.