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
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.
Hugely interesting of kids growing up in a W.Va. coal town and thier deep interest in rockets. Excellant description of the life in coalmine country.
Read this one with my son. There were a few questionable passages for someone my son's age, but overall it was a great read and look back into the backbone of America during the space race.
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.