Rocket Boys, an exciting memoir of a group of boys who are interested in rocketry, was written by Homer Hickam Jr. This autobiographical book tells about Homer's adventures with his rocketry friends. While Homer is launching these rockets, he deals with such problems as school, friends, and his dysfunctional family. His father, the superintendent of the local coalmine, disapproves of his building of rockets, and wants him to become a miner. His mother, on the other hand, is urging on Homer because she knows that the mine is dangerous and can kill her son. Even with so much going on around him, Homer and the "rocket boys" keep building and shooting off rockets.
This story took place in Coalwood, a mining town in the West Virginian mountains, and in the surrounding towns. This story occurred around 1957 to 1961 and covered Homer's entire high school years. There were some very important events in this book. The first event took place in 1957 when the awestruck Homer watched as the Russian satellite Sputnik drifted over Coalwood as it made its legendary orbit around the earth. This inspired Homer to start building and launching rockets.
The second important event in this book came about when a rocket that was launched by the boys actually flew. So far, all of their rockets had just been duds. Their happiness was muffled though, when they learned that the rocket had struck one of the mine's many factories. Homer's father was outraged and forbade him to launch any more rockets on company property, which consisted of about everything within a two-mile radius of the town. Another important event was when Homer won the national science fair. This was the final ingredient needed for the rocket boys to be accepted by the town.
Unfortunately, it took all of their high school years to achieve this. The final important event in this story transpired when Homer's father, who had objected to his launching of rockets, launched the last rocket the rocket boys made before they went to college. This was the farthest rocket they ever launched, and Homer's father apologized for the way he had acted and told Homer to go out and chase his dream. The most exciting part of this book was when Homer went to the national science fair. It was extremely suspenseful, and I wasn't sure if Homer was going to win the fair.
If this book were a fiction book, it would be easy to guess that Homer would win the fair, but because this was a biography, it was not so predictable. Homer is an important person because he is living proof that if you try hard enough, you can achieve your goal. He also contributed to the NASA space program and is still working with NASA today. From reading this book I learned not only factual things such as how to calculate how high a rocket travels or the proper way to mix an explosive, but also how to deal with any family problems and what a friendship means. These things are important to know throughout your life. The author definitely had a purpose in writing this book, and that was to teach the reader, whether young or old, these valuable lessons.
Of all the facts given in this book, I would not disagree with any of them, because the person writing this book is an expert. I could not find anything even remotely wrong with his writing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because it is about something I can relate to. I am interested in rocketry, and build my own rockets. I would recommend this book to anyone with a goal, because it sends the message that if you try hard you can accomplish it. The reading level in this book is difficult, but at the same time, any hard vocabulary is explained at a later time.
All in all, this was a fantastic book.