After the successes of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, both turned into movies (The Social Network and 21), Mezrich tells the story of one of the “most audacious heists in history”.
What would you do if you parents disowned you for having premarital, teenage sex? Marry your sweetheart? Enroll in college? Study everything necessary for admittance into NASA’s internship program? Steal a bunch of incredibly valuable moon rocks? If you said yes to these questions you’re probably a self-centered sociopath, just like Thad Roberts, the subject the 2011 nonfiction novel from author Ben Mezrich.
The heist is audacious all right and the storytelling exciting, but Mezrich mistakenly presents Thad Roberts as a kind of romantic folk hero. Roberts claims he planned the theft to impress a girl, to “give her the moon”, when his real objective was to show off and make money. The hints that the story is less than objective start in the opening author’s note. “Thad Roberts was generous with his time in helping me reconstruct this amazing story; thus many of the inferences are from his perspective, and I have done my best to describe these events as true to his individual perceptions as I could, without endorsing them myself.”
Sex on the Moon is a pretty good read, but if you have any amount of critical thinking skills, it’s really just an exercise in reading between the lines.