Now that I have your attention….I have a theory that anything with the word sex in it will make people at least give a cursory look at it, I’m guessing that the author of Sex on the Moon subscribes to this theory as well. I picked up this book because it is by Ben Mezrich, whom you may have heard of because he wrote the book The Accidental Billionaires upon which The Social Network was based on. He has a reputation for writing books in a more accessible way which apparentely means written as a movie script.
In this case, Mezrich is telling the story of Thad Roberts who was caught having stolen moon rocks from NASA. Let me say that again…..a man went into NASA and made of with a bunch of rocks literally from the moon. Roberts starts out life as a poor kid whose devout Mormon parents threw him out of the house for having premarital sex. Roberts gets married, decides he wants to become an astronaut, and gets a job at NASA as a sort of intern. Pretty impressive but Roberts can only be satisfied if he is the best intern at NASA. He proceeds to ingratiate himself with this intern group by throwing parties and daring others to do ever more extreme stunts. Then he meets another young beautiful intern and begins a passionate affair with her. This leads him to make a brash promise – he wants to get his girlfriend the moon.
For as exciting as this story sounds, the book actually was somewhat disappointing. Mezrich glosses over the beginning of Roberts life, which seems to me to be fertile and interesting ground for why someone would attempt this crazy heist. He spends an inordinate amount of time on Roberts in the NASA program – parties he throws, different dares he makes, other strange things that Roberts does in the context of NASA. Then we get to the actual heist and it is really anticlimactic and a little boring.With as much research, including actual interviews with Roberts, you would think he would be able to give some interesting reasons why all this happened. All in all, this was an okay book. The subject matter was very interesting but it left something to be desired for me. A five shoe book – a black flat , functional but not that interesting.
Three Appeals : interesting subject matter, scientific details, easy-going fiction-style writing
Red Flags : Some sexual situations and language
First Line : “It had to be the strangest getaway in history.”
If you like Mezrich’s writing then you should read The Accidental Billionaires, Bringing Down the House and Rigged – all well reviewed non-fiction books that he has written.
If you are interested in other crime non-fiction you should try Skyjack: the Hunt for D.B. Cooper about the hunt for the man who extorted money by hijacking a Northwest flight and then parachuted to safety. For a book from the point of view of the criminal try Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick who was once the most wanted hacker in the world.
If you like the NASA or governmental space aspect more try Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen which is a detailed history of the most secretive and famous military installation in the world.
Let me know if you like this book or any of the books listed here. Happy Reading!