Oh man, I’ve been dying to get a copy of this book for as long as I’ve known of its existence. It arrived this afternoon and I honestly couldn’t put it down until I finished it a few minutes ago.
It’s more of a biography/account of the space program written by the “co-author” Henry Still, with intermittent insights by Betty Grissom, but there’s definitely a tilt towards the personal side and every reminisce by Betty is just,, so neat to hear. I’ve had a… complicated? view of Gus’ family, especially on things that happened post-fire, but reading Starfall has completely changed my perspective. I hope someday I can be even half the wife, mother, and woman that Betty is. She was lucky to have Gus, but he was even more blessed to find a woman like her to support and love him through a tumultuous life.
It was written in the 70s so it doesn’t cover the problems they’ve had with Scott since then, and there is maybe some unfair bias against certain people within the space program (take the last few chapters with a grain of salt), but overall it’s an unbelievably cool insight into Gus’ life, how he was as a husband and father and man. He was so, so special and I feel blessed to be able to know him the way I do. I love Gus even more than I did 6 hours ago, if that’s possible. I miss him a lot more, too. It’s full of very poignant quotes from Gus and others, but my favorite might be from Betty towards the end:
“I hate that Gus is gone, but I guess the program was worth it. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
I love Diego. Diego is very funny. He’s a very cool guy, quite a smartass, and I really appreciate smartasses. He used to make fun of me for the stupid backpack I wore. There were a few situations where I couldn’t [wear the stilts]. [When] I was on a cliffside or running in water and stuff like that, I had to wear this backpack with a telescoping head that came off the top, and it was really stupid looking.
And the first time I wore it, it was like the first day we shot in Jordan. And he said [Puts on Diego Luna accent.], “Something terrible has happened. Ever since you put on that backpack, you have depressed the entire crew. It’s very sad.” He just went on about, “Please, for God’s sake, please take it off. For the love of God.” Anytime I put it on, “Everyone respected you just one moment ago. But now, it is evaporated.”