Turns out I didn’t know very much at all about Sally Ride. I mean, what I knew about her was very limited, and half wrong. I knew that her name was Sally Ride, and that she was the first woman in space (she wasn’t, she was the first American woman in space; the first woman was cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who Sally once met covertly). So this book was very interesting for me, just in terms of learning about this fascinating woman, even though the writing itself wasn’t the greatest.
(A more skilled author could have done so much more with the material, but Sherr got the job because she was friends with Sally for decades and had the blessing of Sally’s partner Tam, and had connections with Sally’s friends and colleagues from her years as a journalist. Anyway the book was fine, but it could have been better. Less workmanlike, more poignant.)
This is a straight up biography, which charts Sally’s life from her birth (actually, before that, as it goes into a little bit about her ancestors) to her death from cancer in 2012 at age sixty-one. It’s organized in the traditional biographical way, in chapters about significant moments in her life. The best bits were of course all those to do with Sally’s time as an astronaut: the process of becoming one, her time with the shuttle program, and afterwards when she acted as a consultant for them on several tragic occasions (she was part of the panel investigating what caused the Challenger explosion).
An interesting book, despite its flaws, because Sally was an interesting lady. Especially recommended if you like books about space and astronauts.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]