Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

FDBluth’s #CBR4 Review #6: Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History

We live in two worlds: the objective and the subjective. No matter who we are, where we are, we always find ourselves, ensnared in our own fantasies, whether it be the dreams of a better future, the nightmares of the past, or just the simply incomprehensible daydreams of the subconscious. Yet we always find ourselves pulled back in, to the world of reality, where we are merely the pieces of a larger picture, the fragments of a whole, rather than the centerpiece of existence. But what happens to those of us who linger in the realm of fantasy for too long? What happens to those of us who can’t find our way back?

Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, written by Ben Mezrich, tells the story of Thad Roberts, a hopeful NASA co-op student, who had the dream of being the first man on Mars. Everything falls to the wayside when he sees an opportunity to own a piece of history, as well as make a little money on the side, by stealing the Apollo lunar samples. He only thinks of the crime as a mental game, a creative exercise. However, as he brings more and more of his plans into action, it no longer becomes a game, but a crime, a “most audacious crime”, resulting in the theft of lunar samples more than several million dollars in street value.

Mezrich, the author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House (which were made into the films The Social Network and 21, respectively), focuses the story on Roberts, rather than the crime, to tell the story of a naïve, intelligent kid, wrapped up to far in his own grandiose fantasies, tragically struck down by the harsh, grounding forces of reality. The writing certainly suits the angle of the story, flowing naturally at breakneck speed, emulating Roberts’ own train of thought that led him to the very trouble portrayed in the book. It adds to the story, as well as the development of Roberts’ character, with subtlety.

The main problem of the book, however, is that Roberts is, for lack of a better word, an absolute twat. While he does have his reasons for his behaviors, however flimsy and idiotic as they may be, he comes across as an arrogant child, fueled by romance and megalomania. He performs action without real thought into what the consequences would bring, nor does he really think about the prices his actions would impose on those around him. Yet the book portrays him as a misunderstood man, a noble hero, brought down by his ambition and innocence. The contrast does create a rather human and complex character, with strengths and flaws that affect the ultimate story, but I can’t help but feel that it wasn’t quite the book’s intention.

Perhaps this is the problem with dreams. We are always the most important person in our dreams, as we should be. Perhaps that leads us into that egotistic mindset, even in real life. I still don’t know if the book is trying to say that that is a good or bad thing, but the fact that the book presented that problem and makes the reader ponder on that subject does speak volumes on its quality. It certainly is an interesting book to read about, if anything.


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