By Michael Berry,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Gripping tale of space survival has unexpected humor.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Martian presents a very realistic picture of a near-future mission to Mars. It features many discussions of chemistry, physics, and biology, with the details presented in an engaging manner.
Education in the sciences has many practical uses. When in a life-threatening situation, don't panic, but stop and think. Perseverance pays off.
Positive Role Models
Mark Watney, the protagonist of The Martian, is an easygoing "everyman" who survives a deadly situation by remaining calm, thinking through the problem, and devising solutions that depend on his knowledge of science and engineering.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Adult characters make passing reference to their sex lives. The wife of an astronaut wants her husband to come home, and a couple is teased about being together secretly.
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The first line of the book is "I'm pretty much f--ked." The Martian features adult professionals in highly stressful situations, and the amount of strong language rises accordingly. In addition to variants of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," used perhaps a dozen times each, the characters employ "damn," "hell," "bitch," and "ass" semi-frequently.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Andy Weir's The Martian is a gripping, realistic tale of survival on an alien planet that's been popular with both adults and teens. Botanist Mark Watney is left for dead on Mars and must devise a way to stay alive until he's rescued. The story emphasizes the values of science and logical thinking. Adult characters under pressure often use strong language, including variants of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "damn," "hell," "ass," and "bitch." No violence or sexual content. You may want to check out the 2015 film adaptation starring Matt Damon.
Where to Read
Based on 13 parent reviews
Try the Classroom Edition!
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So Much Swearing
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What's the Story?
After a wind-whipped antenna punctures his space suit, botanist Mark Watney is left for dead on the surface of Mars. He survives that initial calamity but finds himself alone on the planet with no idea how to communicate with anyone back on Earth. His food, water, and oxygen will only last so long, so he needs to devise a plan that will let him live until rescue arrives. There's little room for error, though, and Watney comes dangerously close to disaster on numerous occasions.
Is It Any Good?
A first novel originally serialized on author Andy Weir's personal website, this 21st-century Robinson-Crusoe-on-Mars tale starts strong and maintains a high level of suspense. Mark Watney is an instantly likable protagonist: brave, resourceful, and smart and possessing an engaging sense of humor.
The tech talk may occasionally get a little thick, and some of the supporting characters are less than well-rounded, but Weir does a great job of escalating predicaments for his main character to surmount.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why people enjoy tales of survival against long odds. What others have you read or seen as movies?
What are some ways of staying calm in the middle of a crisis? How can you control your emotions to think rationally?
Do you think exploring other planets is a worthwhile endeavor? What kinds of information can come from such missions?
- Author: Andy Weir
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: STEM, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Broadway Books
- Publication date: October 27, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 387
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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