i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries: Mr. MacDonald – From Book to Book

From Book to Book – Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Would you be able to survive on your own? Not just living by yourself, but far removed from all other people. How about being the only person on an entire planet? Could you cope?

This is a very daunting scenario but it is the premise of The Martian by Andy Weir. In the not too distant future, astronauts have started landing on Mars doing reconnaissance missions to learn more about the martian surface. After a series of unfortunate events, one astronaut, Mark Watney is stranded on the planet with nothing but a couple of robotic rovers and nothing but rocks in every direction for company.

At the heart of this story is the struggle of one man against adversity. Watney needs to improvise solutions to unforeseen situations again and again. He must learn to cope with the haunting isolation of being millions of miles from his family and every single other human being who has ever lived. Reading this book puts you in his space suit and begs the question “How would you get yourself home?”.

It’s a story about a person who had to act heroically in order to survive; a story about bravery and ingenuity; and at the end of the day I think we all want to believe we could be heroes if we had to be. Plus, it’s about space and who isn’t a little excited about that! For that reason, I’d recommend it to students between the ages of 10 – 14 or older who enjoy stories about personal battles and overcoming difficult situations.