Need LARGE PRINT? Here you go!
Blessed are the engineers who give us some answers to life’s little perplexities!
This is the #1 Best Selling, Pinnacle Award Recipient. Mister B's jaunty calculating rhythm offers timely subject matter. Mister B's prove he could care less about being politically correct. That's not Mister B's style.
With middle-age couched between quirky days and minutes of kindness, MISTER B's confessions roll from the earliest days of aerospace engineering in Alabama through World War II and the Cold War secrecy. So, how will life unfold when a chauffeur-cook decides to move into the home of this self-centered, 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist... will she really lend aid?
Can these mult-generational housemates discover why they still matter? Find out now, for a celebration of full life.
PRAISE FOR MISTER B:
"Wow! What an amazing, delightful book!
"A first-class example of a man from the Greatest Generation. We see almost of a century of tremendous mechanical and technological changes through the eyes of - literally - a rocket scientist." - Christine
"...Byk fully constructs Mister B from the Rhode Island coastal awe in his voice to his penchant for mustard on a peeled egg. In these small, perfectly executed moments, Byk brings her fascinating family to life for readers with warm and genuinely funny wit..." - KIRKUS
"A wonderful book, brimming with humor and spirituality. The characters are lovingly drawn and Byk provides her readers with a day-by-day recounting of how her life intersects with the indefatigable Mister B, whose memory seems almost photographic even at the age of 98! The book is enlivened by photographs from early-to-middle twentieth century America. A very worthwhile multi-generational read." -Jan Kalickion
If you like Jimmy Stewart in No Highway in the Sky, (Nevil Shute) or The Millionaire Next Door, or Hidden Figures, you will love Mister B. - Tim Truong
Mister B springs from earthbound corners in rope-tied-baggy pants, into a self-made man who learns to defy gravity. Born in 1916, Joseph Byk, the Rhode Island son of Polish immigrants, charms the bejeebers out of the Greatest Generation, World War II, and the Cold War. In 2013, an old man's new companion begins to journal Mister B's bygone era. His family ideals confront the independence of a younger generation as he reveals a lifetime of secrets.
"Who is helping whom?" is the million-dollar question. This instructive and comedic memoir of story shorts on aging offers historic photographs. It can be found in the grumpy ol’ men’s section at your local bookstore.
Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist inspires us to learn from history and science and to give a little more to multi-generational relationships.
Like The Life We Bury, Red Mountain, a novel; Where the Crawdads Sing; Sold on a Monday; Little Boot; Before We Were Yours.
|Edition description:||Large Print ed.|
|Product dimensions:||6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.93(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Joseph Byk received his PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama. He taught pilots in the air corps with Spartan Company and then worked through WWII and the cold war with Martin Company performing projects for NASA and the Department of Defense.
• Changing the World through Media Education (1998)
• Media Alert! 200 Activities to Create Media-savvy Kids (2000)
• EYE SPY Program (Early Youth Education Program): An Interactive Coloring Book (2000)
• Get Them Thinking! Use Media Literacy to Prepare Students for State Assessments (2005)
Read an Excerpt
THE OL' MAN
Memorial Day, 2013
It's four o'clock in the afternoon, time for us to visit Joseph John Byk. I climb into the passenger side of my husband Paul's big boy Tonka truck. My hubster received this 1977 F-150 industrial yellow pickup from his parents on his fiftieth birthday. Now, at age 58, he's still a big toddler zooming about with a toy truck in hand. This time, however, he gets to ride inside of his Ford collector series. Does sex make Paul as happy as his industrial yellow truck? I wonder. He muscles it around hairpin curves in the mountains. He makes up chores just to drive the junkyard canister around town, and he limps it the three blocks to work and back when his legs are giving him fits. It isn't that I haven't enjoyed playing farm girl in his yellow truck, propelling it for construction or landscaping needs, yet it's waaaay down on my list of "best consumer picks," mostly because the roar of the engine always shocks me, and because the passenger's side of the long cab seat slopes into Neverland. Of course normally, I am the passenger trying to hold onto my seat.
"We're taking your dad's car to dinner." This, I pronounce as a flat humorless order as I work open the side vent. Even under the friendly puffy clouds, it feels like the heat of summer already; but that's Colorado for you.
"I know," my husband returns cheerfully. "He won't mind. I just wanna unwind on the way over, okay?"
We've planned to take Mr. B–Mr. B being the nickname his wife gave him–to dinner at the Garden Club. It's his favorite restaurant, I surmise, because the cashier honors his senior coupons for all three of us or okay, because, he can top off his salad with as many bowls full of tapioca as he likes. He's not used to being told "No". Once, he told me that his marriage consisted of "sixty-seven years of getting my own way". He is not only the headwaters of the family, but he is what I call a brainiac, or more particularly, a retired aerospace engineer.
At the top of a curved suburban street, full of houses built in the '70s, my own father-in-law's two-story, reverse-gabled home comes into view. It sports an exterior color of today's unsure Colorado sky. I sigh. Pulling into the concrete drive, my soul quietly curses the appearance of the outmoded facade decorated with a giant X under both of the front bedroom windows. The X's appear like a boxer's puffy face after a match, with two widespread black eyes.
"X marks the spot!" Paul announces. The worn family joke gripes me.
Paul's father is waiting inside, seated in his favorite blue velvet rocker, arms crossed. Tonight he's wearing a pink and teal plaid shirt, blanketed with the light blue fleece we gave him last year, decked on top of his navy blue dress pants. I've seen Mr. B's muscles, sinewy thin. He is altogether on the petite size, but we never let on that he should wear less than a large shirt.
When he sees us walk into his domain, he pulls up his pant leg and sticks out his bird ankle so that we can admire his colorful, striped, cotton knee sock. Thus, he continues to affirm my style choices. Nearing Christmas a year and a half ago, I determined to fulfill Mr. B's meager solicitation for warm knee-high socks. To my dismay, it became apparent that men's knee-highs were out of fashion. Shopping, admittedly, is not my forte, but I had finally located a couple pairs of Pippi Longstocking socks. After buying them, I stumbled upon a tuxedo store selling men's silk knee-highs for a penny prettier that we could really afford. In the end, I stuffed three pairs of them into his Christmas package with the other two pairs of the riskier, striped, long-stockings. As a back door, if he hated them, I'd planned to tell him that they were a joke. To my relief, Mr. B was delighted with all of the socks, but mostly, he got the Christmas jollies from the colorful striped ones. He wears them fashionably under his blue dress pants or his summer Khakis.
"You still wearing those crazy things?" I tease. "Aren't you hot?"
"No, ma'am," Joe shakes his head quickly. "I keep it cool in here."
I look at his thermostat which says "76" in bold letters.
June 20, 2013
First, I must drag myself away from the ongoing minutia to head over to Joe's again. Paperwork swaddles my life like cloth on a mummy. I've been trying to get our silent and deflective insurance company to pay the damages promised in our umbrella policy. Paul's been helping in hiccups, but he's mainly been transplanting bushes to reestablish "curb appeal" at our war- weary hospitality house.
At Joe's, I lay a card on the dining room table while explaining in a loud voice that we can all write something to his great-granddaughter who is spending her summer far away at camp.
"Oh, no. What do I say to a nine-year-old girl?" he asks behind a wrinkled brow. "I don't think that asking her to write a letter tome will help her penmanship. I think that she ought to be journaling in a diary all the things she gets to do, like horseback riding and acrobatics, and the dog training that she's learning."
"Go ahead. Why don't you suggest that she begin a diary, Mr. B?"
"I'll get around to it." He sighs and pushes the card away from him over his dining room table.
Joe takes the dinner conversation way back to his old workplace, explaining to us the difference between titanium and steel bolts on a project he once analyzed. Pauly and I look at each other impatiently, wondering once again how to respond to a rocket scientist.
He begins by telling us that at one point in his career, his services were loaned out to McDonnell Aircraft for a rocket capsule project. "First, they asked me to figure out what was going wrong because the capsule kept separating from the rocket shaft in simulated flight. Then, they showed me the blueprints, and later they took me to the actual capsule itself.
"Well, I had to assess the drawing specifications to see if they were correctly engineered. Then, I had to compare the L-brackets they had installed all the way around the shaft to hold the capsule and shaft together." His finger makes a circle platform in the air. He explains this dilemma as if we need to know such details for work in our world. He explains it visually, folding his table napkin into a two thirds angle like an L, thumping the base of it with his forefinger to show us where the bolt went in.
Though he quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey at age fifty, Joe still yams from the side of his mouth as if his lips are clenching that smoke.
"The L-bracket was thick, see, as thick as the diameter of the bolt going through it. So, I examined the bolts themselves. They were made of the new titanium material because titanium was lighter weight and strong, and lightweight is what everyone wants of a flying machine, but see the drawing specifications called for steel. Aha! I had the answer!" he exclaims, slapping the tabletop.
"Titanium may save weight on the rocket, but titanium is only strong when stress-tested vertically. In flight, the projection of speed was forcing the L-bracket to rise and the joint to straighten, making the bolt flex. Steel bolts would have flexed with the L-bracket's force, but titanium bolts were popping their heads off rather than flexing."
"Bolts can flex?" I doubt it.
"Yes, Ma'am. But, substituting titanium for the steel that was called for in the design caused the capsule to break off of the rocket, and that was their problem. McDonnell had to accept a new weight factor by exchanging the titanium bolts for steel bolts if they wanted their rockets to hold together."
"Um, that's nice, Dad," Paul clears his throat and pauses before changing the subject to what happened in his workday at the hospital.
Joe listens with interest, nodding. He seems to drink in anything his son wants to tell him. I'm assuming since Joe has no personal friendships made known to us, that dinner with us is his only meaningful opportunity to use his voice and other social faculties of conversation each week.
In the early '90s, while he still wore large oval glasses, we teased Mr. B that he resembled the grim-faced cartoon character, Mr. Magoo. He'd shrug with a smile and a leaning of his head, open palm raised as if to imply, "What can ya do?"
When he traveled without eyeglasses in the '90s, people stared at him for a religious reason. Some would approach him to ask if he might be the Pope. When Pope John Paul II visited Colorado, we got Paul's dad a sweatshirt that proclaimed him, indeed, to be the Pope, so that people didn't have to embarrass themselves. Joe particularly liked this joke because he had spent an entire childhood of Sunday mornings confused, as an illiterate second-generation Pole, sitting in an American Polish Catholic church. When it burned to the ground, he had an immediate excuse for swearing off religion. There are very few Polish Catholic churches left in America. The notoriety of looking like someone famous, however? He liked that. Occasionally, Joe would even invite the gawker to make his or her confession.
June 22, 2013
Paul surprises his dad by delivering a new pair of fancy wool socks tonight. The souvenir socks are from our visit to an alpaca ranch, managed by a friend of his. They are brown wool, and slipping into them, Joe exclaims, "I finally made it. I feel rich! They are so soft!"
"Have you signed the card we brought last time, Mr. B?" I ask.
"No, no. I don't think a nine-year-old girl wants to hear from an old man like me. I feel silly. Besides, I don't write cursive anymore. I forgot how! My printing is pretty nondescript, too."
"That's all right, Chief," Paul chimes in. "She'd love to know you are thinking about her. Just write about the journal idea. We all need to sign it and get it in the mail tomorrow."
Joe sits down. He studies the card like a student forced to write a book report. Finally, he proceeds to print his suggestion using his architectural box styled hand, to his great-granddaughter. His thoughts require a fifteen minute wait time, and almost the whole inside of the card, both sides, are written over. Then Pauly writes a joke, leaving me with less than an inch at the bottom.
"Hey!" I write. "Your grandpa confiscated the whole card. I'll write more later. Love, Aunt Lynn." Paul wonders if putting in a stick of gum like his aunt used to do in his birthday cards is still appropriate. Writing letters by snail mail is so outmoded, I'm thinking; it now takes a whole family to safely get one card into a stamped envelope and mailed. We are still wondering if we did it right when Joe digs inside his wallet.
"This is what that card needs!" He shoves into the envelope a folded twenty dollar bill. "If I'm bold enough to suggest she write in a diary, at least she won't have to cough up for it!"
This summer, the old man has decided to take on a new project. Sewing isn't exactly new to him, because he's made slipcovers and has mended pants. He's sewn together a swimming suit, mended socks, even hemmed his wife's old skirts, but he no longer has a sewing machine. He leads us outside to the back porch and shows us his aluminum glider. "The cushions are beginning to show their stuffing through these worn holes, here and here," he points out with his hard and weathered middle finger. "I've done the upholstering of these cushions once before you know, so I'm assuming I can do it again."
I look at Paul carefully to hide a harried expression. I don't have time to babysit him with this project! I'm wrapping up our lawsuit. I'm talking to realtors and construction guys and a stager for our house.
Paul closes his eyelids against me. Out of the side of his mouth, he quietly sidesteps an argument, "Let's just see how far he gets on his own."
"I called Sandy," Joe begins, "when I started thinking about this project, and she was kind enough to return my old Singer sewing machine to me this week." Joe's granddaughter, Sandy, lives north of Denver in the foothills with her husband and with Joe's nine-year-old great-granddaughter, Christina, and his namesake toddler grandson, Joe-Joe. He leads us into an upstairs bedroom where we see he has set up a card table, a pincushion, and the old gray Singer. Sandy has indeed already managed to find the time to return Mr. B's sewing machine to him. He smiles proudly at the setup.
Then, Mr. B scores a look as bashful as an old mountain goat when he asks us to take him fabric shopping. "Look at me, a man wid an agenda!" He tells us, "Things are too expensive, and I can't remember what kind of material to buy. So, I'm asking for your young folks' opinion." Then muttering, "The last place I went, I walked around and around. Couldn't find one person to talk to me or show me where the sales were."
Joe's balance has been pretty bad these past two years. "They probably didn't want to be liable if you toppled over at their elbow, Mr. B!"
"Well, there's that." His head weaves the air between his shoulders considering this possibility. Then again, he refuses to use a walker or a cane because to do so would be to give in to the dictates of old age. He pins us into the corner of his sewing room. "Do you or don't you have a few minutes to help me find some upholstery on sale?"
We agree, and Mr. B eagerly reminds us that he prides himself on bargain hunting. "My aerospace pension is a case in point. The engineering firm set it up 36 years ago, but I don't mind bragging on myself. I won the bet they made against my longevity. See, they offered to pay me a pension every month instead of disbursing it in one lump sum!" Joe turned 97 in January. He still smiles every time he reminds us, "Those buzzards still have to cough up a paycheck every month for me, yeah, huh!"
Based on his older brother Eddy's advice in the early '70s, Mr. B once tried to invest in the stock market. It was just after Joe moved the family to Colorado, but after more research, he quietly removed his money and continued his usual course of saving through measly interest rates earned on bank deposits and government bonds. He, rather, chooses carefully what to spend his money on up front. When we asked him why he continues to forfeit the larger stock market returns for the bank's dwindling interest rates, he shrugged.
"Why would I pay a bunch of industry pricks to manage my hard earned money? They don't have any loyalty to me. We have never looked each other in the eye. They only care about what's gonna make them a buck. No, I don't trust 'em. I don't trust 'em one bit wid my money."
Mr. B has a softer side to his thriftiness, though. For each summer holiday we've ever hosted at our house, Joe would pick, cut, and bring to me his own bundle of flowers to grace our table. He always tended them in his backyard. He typically busied himself through the friendless hours of summer days with his favorite nursery projects, cutting rose stems to cultivate new roses from them, or transplanting the two varieties of lilacs in his yard, forsythia alike, into the boundaries of his three-quarter acre lawn. After the blooms die, Joe harvests the seeds from his poppies, snapdragons, zinnias, and Johnny jump-ups, propagating and sharing with namely us, his grandkids, and neighbors.
Finding the fabric store by Joe's navigation, we all traipse in together and search out material. He growls. The regular upholstery material we show him is too expensive, so he chooses a black and white checked tablecloth material instead.
Paul and I shrug. At least it'll keep him busy.
Back at home he tears apart the old cushions and begins struggling to sew together the back cover with the enlarged front cover. It is one of those things that is better made by pinning the pattern of the pieces he has ripped apart, to the new material and cutting out the pattern, than by trying to work out the mathematical science of the curve before sewing. I try to help him by pinning the front, carefully gathered, to the back. I tell him that some things cannot be figured out mathematically and must be taken on faith.
"Use the pattern of the old ones, Mr. B."
He attempts to sew "in faith," as he says teasing me, but faith is diametrically opposed to his mathematician's mind, honed by decades spent in the engineering hole at the Department of Defense.
June 24, 2013
I've set up a dinner date for Mr. B with Betty, my 78-year-old book club partner. Betty's house is located near Joe's, so we are taking him to meet her at the garden club for dinner.
"Lynn, you know Dad won't approve."
Mr. B is not what most people would call a gregarious person. We have photographs from many celebrations, including his own fiftieth wedding celebration, where he is looking at the camera with a pug Yoda face held in a parenthesis between fanning ears.
I shrug. "So, we simply don't tell him she'll be there." He's still a good-looking man, I think, with a full head of straight white hair kept cropped at what his hairdresser calls "a one on top and a two on the sides."
Excerpted from "Mister B."
Copyright © 2017 Capture Books.
Excerpted by permission of Capture Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
CONTENTS Preface i 1 THE OL' MAN 5 2 AUGUST ~ DISSEMBLE 23 3 SEPTEMBER ~ THIN GRINS 35 4 OCTOBER ~ OCTAVES 79 5 NOVEMBER ~ NESTING 115 6 DECEMBER ~ DECIBELS 137 7 JANUARY ~ JERRY RIGGED 167 8 FEBRUARY ~ FAHRENHEITS 195 9 MARCH ~ MOMENTUM 217 10 APRIL ~ INTERSECTIONS 237 11 MAY ~ BOUQUETS 255 12 JUNE ~ JOY 281 13 JULY ~ REJOINED 307 14 IN RETROSPECT 325 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 345 BOOK CLUB/DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 349
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thank you for this book. Such fun and emotive writing! It gave me the courage to want to humor my own parents, care for them better, and maybe, just maybe create a household with one of them. Some stories had me laughing out loud. Why do we think old men lose cleverness just because they're older? Ha!
Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite Living With A 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B by Lynn Byk and Joseph Byk is a memoir told by Mister B’s daughter-in-law. Paul and Lynn move in with Mister B after they were forced to sell their own home. Mister B is getting frail, but he doesn’t really want anyone living with him, making changes to his home. Lynn spends a lot of time with Mister B and offers to write a book about his experiences. This is that book. Writing in the form of a diary, Lynn details Mister B’s experiences of life, right from his early days when he started designing gravity-defying vehicles, to his time in WWII when he was stress testing the reconnaissance planes. He talks of the race to the moon in the Cold War and Gemini, the space shuttle that he helped to design. He even talks about the start of Google Earth. With a spiritual ribbon winding through the story, this is Mister B’s life, the life of a rocket scientist. Living With A 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B is well worth reading. It was a wonderful story, a journey that few can hope to make, covering almost 100 years of change. The photographs made the true story even more real and were a wonderful addition, giving aspects of the story another depth. I like the way it was written in the form of a diary and, although the timings were not exact as explained at the start, it doesn’t matter – the real grit of the story was there. We got to know Mister B, Lynn and Paul very well throughout the book and we learn what makes them who they are. Mister B has led an incredible life and his family is very lucky to have him, to have walked in his footsteps, if only through a series of reminiscences and photographs. This is an amazing book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about life as a rocket scientist, and everything that goes with it.
Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B by Lynn Byk and Joseph Byk is an interesting memoir, one woman’s brilliant account of what it feels like to live with a ninety-eight-year-old man. It’s not just any man, but Mister B, a rocket scientist whose beginnings haven’t been as glorious as those of many others, but a man whose contribution to the scientific community and the life of the nation — especially during WWII and the Cold War — can’t be ignored. Mister B welcomes his son and daughter-in-law into the house he once shared with his wife and an interesting journey begins. The reader gets to discover the humorous, witty, and intelligent part of the scientist. Mr. B is a humble individual whose scientific contributions saved many lives. I found this memoir to be very interesting and utterly engaging. The protagonist, Joseph Byk, has a unique way of seeing the world, is very informed, and he can come across as blunt sometimes. The writing is great and I enjoyed the conversations that are well-crafted. I also loved the form of this book, written as a journal, which allows the reader to follow Mister B’s interactions with others as events taking place before the reader’s gaze. It is rare to read a memoir that isn’t laced with explanations, but the authors have succeeded in taking readers on a delightful ride through the life of a hero just two years shy of a century. Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B will have you smiling and laughing and rooting for the old man. You won’t forget him easily, even after you have put the book down.
Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B by Lynn Byk is a memoir that reads like nothing I have read in a long while. It is well-crafted, with details that capture the very essence of the day-to-day life of a 98-year-old rocket scientist, his son, Paul, and his daughter-in-law, Lynn. Written in the form of journal entries, the memoir draws readers into the narrator’s perspective and follows the story closely. The memoir features moments of history in Mister B’s scientific work, and his contribution to WWII and the Cold War initiatives. When the couple decides to move into Mister B’s house, they are unaware that an exciting chapter is opening in their lives. Now, the old man is just happy to have people to share his home, but no argument or trick could convince him to allow any renovations to take place in the house. It’s the place he’s occupied with his late wife and he just won’t allow any changes to it. Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B is told in a humorous, endearing tone that will arrest the reader’s attention right off the bat, a rollicking ride, and a hilarious story that looks at the beauty of living with an elderly man who has seen many things and who has been at the heart of history. The humor is terrific and the author’s handling of family dynamics is one of the fortes of this narrative. Coupled with witticism and realistic dialogues, this makes for a great read. I was pulled into the story from the very beginning and couldn’t get distracted as I read through the entire book. Yes, it is gripping, and the humanity of Mister B is so wonderfully explored. It is rare to find a memoir that reads like fiction, but this one does. It’s an exciting read!
Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite A memoir that will have readers rooting for the characters, Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B by Lynn Byk follows the life of an old man in the company of his son and daughter-in-law. Paul and Lynn Byk decide to move into Paul’s father’s home because of poorly behaved neighbors. It’s a home the old man has lived in for the past 40 years and he now occupies it alone after his wife’s death. This might have been a temporary move to fix a minor crisis, but things quickly change as son and daughter-in-law get to bond with the wise, old and sharp-witted rocket scientist, a man who had played a great role in WWII, the Cold War, and in US history. The reader is pulled into the lifestyle of this family and, as they follow the brilliant humor and the intelligent conversations, they develop a fondness for a character who is legendary and whose wisdom rubs off quickly on them. One of the things that will get the reader’s attention is the storytelling craft. The author has the gift of recreating scenes and injecting humor and wit into the narrative in a way that draws the reader in quickly. The story is told in the form of journal entries and in the first person, and the POV is carefully crafted. The characters are well explored and readers will feel as if they are part of the physical and spiritual journey of this family. The different themes are woven well into the story. It is impossible to read Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B without feeling drawn to and connected with the protagonist. Here is a memoir that entertains and informs readers, a well-crafted story that fans of the genre will find delightful.
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite Family, spirituality, science, history, friendship, and love are elements that are so brilliantly woven into this inspiring memoir. Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B by Lynn Byk and Joseph Byk is one of the best memoirs I have read in a while, a story that is laced with wit and humor. Readers are introduced to a memorable cast of characters — an old rocket scientist who welcomes his son and his wife to live with him. What could have been a tragic experience soon transforms into an endearing story where readers are invited to drink from the wisdom of one who has contributed in shaping history with a revolutionary invention. Paul and Lynn might have thought that they would be a burden to Paul’s aged father when they move into his home, but to their greatest surprise, they encounter the warmth that would transform their lives. The reader follows these characters as they explore family dynamics from one exciting day to the next. Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist: Mister B is a great story of love, a spiritual and cultural odyssey, and an exciting read that will flood the hearts of readers with light and love. It is interesting to notice the protagonist’s journey from humble origins to becoming a reputable scientist. The story is original and the style unique. The first person narrative makes the story even more gripping because it forces the reader to experience the events through the eyes of the narrator, who happens to be one of the key characters in the story. Lynn Byk’s style of writing is awesome and the reader can feel the honesty in the narrative and the keen attention to detail. I couldn’t put the book down.
When I first started reading this book I felt like I’d just friended a friend on Facebook who was the quintessential vague-booker. You know exactly what I mean. We all have at least one friend who drops hints about something going in as if begging for you to pay attention, and when you do they don’t want to talk about it or ‘message me’. Either say it or don’t post it. Vague-Book is grounds for unfollowing, just saying. There were hints and side comments dropped about other issues going on in the author’s life but it was never really spelled out or explained. I couldn’t drop the idea of vague-booking. It got better but I still don’t know what, if anything, those little drops added to the story. I was doubting the wisdom of requesting this book just to be disappointed. But, suffice it to say, I’m super glad I kept reading. With each page, each story, each experience by investment in the individuals and the rating of the book went up for me. By the end, despite the extraordinarily (for me) long time it took to finish this story was worth the investment. I gotta give the author kudos, even with the decent descriptions and even the occasional picture to go with it, I never quite understood what Mr. B was talking about. Structures and numbers and theories and formulas are right up there with tool-y things in my world. I never ‘got it’. But that’s OK because I totally got him. Mr. B has a total freshness and irreverence for his age that is embraceable. His openness to his family and his love for who he is and where’s he’s come from is refreshing. I appreciated his stories of his childhood and young adult years more than the stories of his career. I liked the personal and feel like there are more books of more stories that he could tell. And I’d want to sit and listen to every single one of them. I also appreciated a little bit more back story to all the vague-book in the beginning. I never truly wrapped my head around it and never really understood what was and had happened but little bits came out as the book went on. I wanted to shout ‘out with it already’ so many times. I understand that that was not the focus of the book but I also felt like it took up too much time. I took away a lot of new ideas about faith as well. As the author worked through her own hangups and issues and moments I bonded with her growth. As Mr. B expounded on his faith, or at times lack of faith, I bonded with his own personal understanding. I grew to love these people and wouldn’t mind if they decided to take up residence in my neighborhood. I’d also like to have the opportunity to spend more time with them in the future. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Book Crash. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
Wow! What an amazing, delightful book! Lynn Byk, Mr. B’s daughter-in-law, has written a fabulous memoir of a first-class example of a man of the Greatest Generation. We see almost of a century of tremendous mechanical and technological changes through the eyes of – literally – a rocket scientist. The first year of sharing Mr. B’s home, his son Paul and daughter-in-law Lynn were gifted with an entirely different experience than anticipated. Each has received a precious treasure. Paul and Lynn must sell the home they have so lovingly put together. Lynn was forced to give up her dream for that home due to the neighbors and lack of cooperation from the City. They moved in with Paul’s father, Joe Byk, who has lived in his home for over 40 years, the last few living alone after the loss of his beloved Maudie. Lynn noticed the effect of many little, cumulative changes from recent months showing a sad trend for Mr. B. He looked so frail, and was taking less care of himself, his home and garden. Mr. B was less than thrilled to have people move into his home, and didn’t want any changes made to the 40+ year old décor, including floor coverings and paint colors. It was challenging for each to accept the parameters, yet it is Lynn who spends the most time with Mr. B. What she and Mr. B learn and share through these circumstances is tremendous, demonstrating yet again what a priceless treasure of wisdom, history, and love can be learned from seniors of any age. The book is written in journal form, showing just over a year of entries. This reader was invited into it from the beginning. While I understood very little of the math and mechanics that Mr. B shared, they are very short in nature and shown step by step. Lynn also shares brief thoughts from various scripture verses that are meaningful to their situations. While Mr. B does not share her faith, it sounds like he is softening when hearing more about her relationship with Jesus in lieu of having a religion. Overall, I learned about a man who lived some of the “American Dream”, the son of immigrants who is brilliant, has been self-motivated to learn more about what he loved to do so he could stay employed in a competitive environment, and has made significant contributions to the history and future of aviation and space programs in the United States. I enjoyed the drawings of what he has worked on, and particularly a photo of Mr. B looking into Lynn’s “black box”. This is a journal to read slowly, savor the nuances of the Byk family, American history, and Lynn’s spiritual journey. One can appreciate the changes to the garden and the correlation between the garden and the relationship of Mr. B and Lynn. For anyone who has been a caregiver as a profession either inside or outside their family, these memories will resonate. Everyone needs to find their purpose if they are to flourish. Even 98-year-old rocket scientists and a middle-aged couple who have left their home. This is a remarkable book of wisdom garnered from a Greatest Generation gentleman. It is a beautiful memoir, one that honors Mr. B and his family. It is also about a renewed relationship with the Lord that I hope continues to have positive influence on Mr. B. I highly recommend this as a not-to-be-missed memoir. From a grateful heart: I was given this eBook by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review.
Mister B: Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist by A.L. Byk I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review This book starts out with the family moving into their fathers house. Love hearing of the blimps and what they were really all about. Same with Apollo explosion and why although the officials never told you. The father (father in law), Mister B loves to learn how things works, like a computer so he studies at his local library-walking there as he no longer drives. He doesn't have a computer just wants to learn all about them. So many other subjects come up. Helium in TX-this guy would do well on Jeopardy. The family is giving it a year to see if they like living with their father before they decide what to do next. They had sold their house but didn't make much money on it as they owed so many people money. Love the pictures along the way. Book is set up like a diary or journal where it's written in on a daily if not weekly basis. Love time spent where prayer and much thought goes into things they always wondered about. Living in Woonsocket, RI growing up near cotton mills. Love what they all sacrifice so an old man can remain in his house. I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review.
Wonderful book - very enjoyable. Great heartfelt story telling.