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Rarely does a book ring as true as Challenger Park The characters are as real as our friends, family and co workers The story ropes us in from the start, but then guides us along rather than pulling tight The writing is colorful when it needs to be, terse when it needs to be, and invisible when it needs to be an art in itself.Harrington strikes all the right notes in his story of astronauts and support crews at NASA, the long, grueling training for a space launch, and the shadow of danger that lurks behind every mission His keen eye for detail lends extra depth to the settings and characters alike Challenger Park shows that astronauts are as human as the rest of us Despite reaching for the stars, their lives are mostly mundane their relationships are complicated, their families aren t perfect, their conversations could have been overheard in any restaurant or whispered over any phone And we care about what happens to them we laugh at them, cry with them and fear for their safety.The ending isn t Hollywood, but it s real Sometimes both options involve a sacrifice We may question the decision Lucy makes, but deep down we knew what she would choose. Its first sentence, which puts our heroine at the intersection of NASA Road One and Space Center Boulevard, clearly shows the novel s attention to the minutiae of astronaut life Reviewers opined differently about the obsessive NASA details some felt the jargon slowed down what is a very internal narrative about Lucy s struggle to balance career with familya timeless battle, surely, and one the author handles with admirable delicacy Lucy s nail biting propulsion into space is a page turner, but her extramarital dalliance develops slowlyand comes across as very decent Which is mostly commendable Writes the New York Times Book Review The two dutiful, abashed and guilty people he s created strike me as the most refreshing literary lovers in a long, overheated time This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.
Challenger Park Stephen Harrigan 2006 Alfred A Knopf 397 pages.Challenger Park by Stephen Harrigan is an AMAZING novel about a woman astronaut named Lucy Kincheloe as she prepares for her first space mission Lucy is a mother of two children and married to another astronaut, Brian, whose ego threatens his own future career as an astronaut In the midst of dealing with her husband s animosity and her son s serious asthmatic problems, Lucy finds herself drifting closer to the trainer for her space mission, Walt Womack In addition to Lucy s life drama, readers are indulgently treated to the vast details surrounding preparation and training for an actual mission to outer space As a reader, I have lots of wonderful things to say about Challenger Park First, Stephen Harrigan proves he is an excellent author by making what could have been a potentially boring subject into something so interesting that I couldn t put the book down Readers will not need to be sci fi nerds or space enthusiasts to have genuine interest in space missions and the scenarios presented by Challenger Park Lucy s character is extremely intelligent, which makes her incredibly intriguing and leaves readers eager to learn how she deals with stress and the obstacles thrown at her We also learn numerous facts and tidbits about the history of space exploration and are given an inside look on the lives of astronauts.Readers will find that Stephen Harrigan performed extensive and wonderful research to put Challenger Park together, and I highly recommend this book as a must read. When reading the description of this novel, I was excited to see a fictional account of an astronaut in the days of the Space Shuttle program I d say that about 1 3 of the novel that may be generous is packed with an interesting story of mission training, launch and coping with several malfunctions that change the course of the mission the main character trained for.Unfortunately, the other 2 3 of the novel were slow moving and packed with pathos about an unhappy marriage, an affair, motherly guilt, fear about a child s health problems, several characters life tragedies, and most tangentially, a priest s crisis of faith It got to a point where I skimmed through Lucy s endless pearl clutching over her life and the conversations between Walt and Luis about nothing having anything to do with the rest of the story The characters of Lucy and Walt constantly made me think of Grey s Anatomy These characters have important jobs to do, but they re focused on themselves and their own angst most of the time.After a while, I just wanted this book to be over. I was surprised by this book Hidden in a box among well known novels by some big names, was this Harrigan novel The beginning started a little slow when Lucy was home with the kids, waiting for Brian to return to Earth Her frustrations and resentments against her husband urged her toward the poor choices she, herself, would make But through it all, her infidelity, her trip to the ISS, and her return, Brian took care of his family While it feels like Lucy is to be our protagonist and Brian our antagonist, I couldn t help feeling bad for Brian when Lucy remained selfish up until the end Ultimately, this book sucked me in and I couldn t put it down for the last 150 pages or so I needed to know what was going to happen to them all Take a read, what do you think I was drawn to this because it takes place where I grew up That also is pretty much the only reason it gets two stars It is pretty cool to read a book that is based on a place you spend 20 years living in, especially when it is as unheralded as Clear Lake, TX It was also an interesting insight into the day to day lives of astronauts, who are no longer the celebrities they were in the days of going to the moon, but still live quite fascinating lives.That said, the NASA and Bay Area facade drew me into what was basically a romantic novel Two astronauts are married and have kids, she falls in love with someone else at NASA, blah blah blah I guess if you like that thing then this wouldn t be an awful book to read, but I am not a romance novel guy and can t give it a much higher rating than this. I strongly disliked this boring, whiny, too long novel about man woman relationships, children, marital conflicts and a weak priest of all things I thought this story extremely annoying I couldn t wait to finish this just to be done with itand it exceeded with a mighty disappointing finish. This story was slow to build for me, but I really liked the look into the day to day lives of astronauts. (Read Book) Ì Challenger Park ⚶ From The Author Of The Acclaimed And Best Selling The Gates Of The Alamo, A Novel Of Extraordinary Power About What It S Like, And What It Means, To Journey Into Space As One Of Today S AstronautsAt The Novel S Center Lucy Kincheloe, An Astronaut Married To An Astronaut, The Loving Mother Of Two Young Children, With A Fierce Ambition To Excel In The Space Program Her Husband, Brian, A Rigorous Man Whose Dreams Of Glory Have Been Blighted By Two Star Crossed Missions Walt Womack, The Steady, Unflappable Leader Of The Training Team That Prepares Lucy For Her First Shuttle FlightLucy Has Devoted Years Of Intense And Focused Effort To Win Her Place On A Mission, But As Her Lifelong Dream Of Flying In Space Comes True, Her Familiar World Appears To Be Falling Apart Around Her Her Marriage Is Deteriorating Her Son S Asthma Is Growing Serious Her Relationship With Walt Womack Is Becoming Dangerously Intimate And When At Last She Is In Space, Miles Above The Earth, And An Accident Renders The World She Left Behind Appallingly Distant Perhaps Unreachable Her Spirit Is Tested In Gripping And Unexpected WaysIn The Gates Of The Alamo, Stephen Harrigan S Narrative Authority Brought A Vanished Nineteenth Century Texas To Vibrant Life In Challenger Park, He Does The Same With The World Of Space Flight, Bringing Us Up Close To The Lives The Risks, The Friendships, The Rituals, The Training Of The Astronauts And The People Who Work With Them Harrigan Has Written An Exciting Indeed A Thrilling Novel About The Contrary Pulls Of Home And Adventure, Reality And Dreams, And The Unimaginable Experience, The Joys And Terrors And Revelations, Of Space Flight Itself More of a love story than a space buff book However, feel a little bit eerie after learned the Lisa Nowak incident.