Review of "Don't Blow Yourself Up"

When the movie October Sky was released in 1999, I couldn't wait to see it. It is the autobiographical story of Homer Hickam, Jr and his friends building rockets in a small West Virginia coal town (Coalwood, to be exact). As a "science geek" in junior and high school (meteorology and, yes, two friends and I built rockets one summer), I certainly empathized with the story. 

October Sky exceeded all of my expectations; so much so that I later read and loved the book upon which it is based, Rocket Boys (The reason the movie had a different name is because there was a low-budget movie about Elton John in process. The the producers of Sky thought there may be confusion). I loved the book, too. 

At the end of the movie, it is revealed that Homer became an engineer for NASA training astronauts. Homer also became a prolific best-selling author. But, there was a hole in Homer's story: what happened in his life after high school?

Now, we know the answers. They are contained in Don't Blow Yourself Up, the sequel to Boys. I just finished reading it and it is wonderful. Homer has had a far more interesting life than I would have imagined as it was hardly a straight line from high school to NASA. The only criticism I have is that I would have liked to have seen more photos and, in a couple of places, maps. Other than that, it is great. 

Don't Blow Yourself Up is highly recommended.


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