on May 7, 2012
With the subject matter one would think that the book would be easy to finish, but I struggled on to the end and if the book wasn't a book club book I probably wouldn't have finished it. I'm having a hard time placing why it was so difficult to finish. I think it had to do with seeing, except the small details, where exactly to book was heading and because of that there wasn't much excitement in it. Another point is that I really didn't like seeing a person throw their life away and so wouldn't recommend this book.
"No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!" -- 1 Corinthians 6:8 (NKJV)
I recommend that you don't read this book.
Let me caution you that I'm going to reveal details about Sex on the Moon that could reduce your enjoyment of it. If you intend to read the book, don't read any more of this review.
Frankly, I wish this book had never been written. It gives Thad Roberts more notoriety and more attention than he deserves. I wouldn't be surprised if some thrill-seeking young people read this book and feel inspired to be "smarter" versions of Thad Roberts so that they can get away with the kinds of things he did . . . rather than get caught. That would be a great shame.
I also found the book to be over hyped in every aspect, from its title to the impressions that it gives of who Thad Roberts is and what he did. As an example, if having sex with a woman you met a month earlier who is not your wife while a small sample of moon rocks are tucked in a secure container safely below the mattress is your idea of "sex on the moon," then you'll like this book a lot better than I did.
Researchers have found a strong relationship between youngsters being able to defer pleasure and the ability to accomplish more as adults. They often test children by putting a marshmallow or a piece of candy in front of them. The children have permission to eat right away . . . but they are also told that they will get double the treat if they can wait a few minutes. Some children stuff the food into their mouths immediately. That's a pretty good picture of the self control that Thad Roberts applied in his adult life before being sent to prison (where he certainly belongs). In the experiments, such youngsters don't do well as adults. Those who defer pleasure as youngsters do a lot better as adults than those who cannot.
The only thing that I found to be unusual about this book is that Roberts was willing to share so many of his self-serving self-justifications with Mr. Mezrich. As a result, readers can appreciate the kind of twisted "logic" that someone in a position of trust uses to do wrong things. To me, the book's best use is as a case history for students taking classes in criminal psychology.
Describing this book as an "amazing story" of "the most audacious heist in history" is ridiculous. Roberts was a student intern in a program where he did simple tasks for NASA. As a result, he was trusted to behave properly. Such work doesn't require the high degree of security or secrecy such as is associated with national intelligence or weaponry. Interns don't get near such activities. I would characterize what happened here as the "ridiculous story" of the "most obnoxious heist in NASA history."
By building the hype for this story and in the ways the book is written, Thad Roberts is portrayed much more positively than he deserves. Roberts does hang himself with his own words and writing . . . but I really didn't need to read all the ways that he tries to justify what he did.
Spend your time reading something constructive instead.