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The Martian and Loneliness

We all feel lonely sometimes. We feel like no one understands us. We feel like we can not share our thoughts with anyone. Like we have no one to talk to. Loneliness often brings its friend depression along for a ride. And in those dark moments, we feel truly alone. Just us and our monsters. No one to help. No one to guide.

I have been through such times too many times to count. So I can relate with anyone who is going through something similar.

In those dark moments, it’s important to remember that we are not all alone. There are people who love us. There is help should we need it. We are not alone.

The Martian is one book which made me believe that I am not alone. Not in the way its main character – Mark Watney was anyways.

Imagine being all alone on a planet. There is literally no one you can talk to. No communication with anyone. Not with your crew. Not with anyone on Earth. All alone on a big planet.

Now this situation is something that I would gladly describe as a nightmare. Feeling that I am all alone is very different from being actually all alone.

The entire book is about the struggles of Mark Watney. His struggle to stay alive. His struggle to establish contact with anyone. His struggle to come back home.

This book could have been really depressing. A story that is showing one struggle after another doesn’t sound too upbeat. But that’s where the author does an amazing job in creating a character who is upbeat even in a depressing situation.

Mark Watney is shown to be witty, funny, and intelligent. He finds a way to keep moving forward no matter what situation he gets into.

Everyone thinks you are dead and leaves you on a planet all by yourself – No problem. I’ll just grow some potatoes and repair machines that stopped operating decades ago. Well not to give any more spoilers, but he did manage to do all that and more and survive.

When I read the book I absolutely fell in love with the character of Mark Watney. He is basically everything I am not. He is someone who is a doer. Who takes the problems head-on and is not afraid of doing something and failing.

This book helped me cope with loneliness and depression. It helped to know that someone imagined a character who could survive living on a planet all alone. It was like – I have problems but they are not as big problems as Mark Watney is facing. And if he can manage to be sarcastic and witty while dealing with his problems, I can certainly deal with my problems while being cranky.

There is nothing in this book specifically about dealing with mental health. And I don’t know if the author had any intention of showing that aspect. But as a reader, I latched on to the psychological aspect of the whole situation.

Now, let’s talk about the movie based on this book.

As a loyal member of the bookworms club, I mostly hate the movie adaptations of any book. Did you notice how I used the word ‘Mostly’ in the above sentence? So, as you might have guessed, this movie does not come under the category of ‘Hate it with all my Soul’ (there are other movies on that list permanently).

The movie was not too bad. I mean it did chop off certain parts of the book and I am not entirely happy about that. But overall the movie was a decent adaptation and that’s the best compliment I can give to any movie adapting a book I have grown to love so much.

I think the main reason I enjoyed the movie was because of the wonderful acting by Matt Damon. Somehow the Mark Watney I imagined while reading the book was portrayed perfectly on-screen by Matt Damon.

Overall, this is one of the books I keep returning to whenever I am feeling lonely. So, if you haven’t read this book and are feeling lonely, then read the book (or watch the movie – the movie is fine too). And if you have read this book and/or watched the movie, then do let me know what you think about it.

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