Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Asronaut Wives Club - A True Story by Lily Koppel ~ Book Review

I've always had a mild obsession been very interested in the missions to land a man on the moon of the 1960's. But all the books I've read have always focused on the astronauts or on a specific mission. Finally a book takes a look into the lives of the astronaut's wives and how their husband's very public, very dangerous jobs affected their family lives.

 From the beginning of their young married lives as wives of test pilots, wondering and worrying daily if their husbands would come home alive each day from their jobs, to being thrown in a very public life once the goal of "a man on the moon before the end of the decade" became the focus of the country, theirs was not necessarily an easy life. They were the ones at home budgeting their meager military income as test pilot families and then handling all of a sudden having all sorts of perks handed to them from companies then just as quickly it seemed having to split those perks with more and more astronaut families. They went from basically quiet, private lives to the sudden popularity and worries of other women now throwing themselves at their husbands. They had to handle and navigate the stresses of watching their husbands be in a very competitive organization and had to learn to be open to the constant demand for interviews and a very public fishbowl existence that was now required of them. They were expected to hold it together at home so that their husbands would be able to concentrate on the task at hand in their work.  In the process some handled it better than others. The women formed a tight unit with the original 7 wives and Marge Slayton attempted to continue it on by starting the Astronaut Wives Club to provide support. It was very interesting how they survived the "rock star" status of their husbands, with the constant demands that the public and NASA placed upon their husbands, marriages and families. It is also interesting to note that a very small percentage were able to hold their marriages together through the stress but that they had to put on a good "show" to the public. I thought this was a great read that finally gave some credit to the women who stayed on the home front during a time when the hope of a nation was placed in the history that the space program was writing and the eyes of all were on the heroes that their husbands had become.


Deb said...

I heard good things about this book from another friend too, so I will will put it on my "to read" list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do love your reviews!

Faith said...

This is a book I haven't seen yet! It sounds really good!! I just had to put a book down and I was so disappointed. (Remarkable Creatures) It's written by the same author who wrote Fallen Angels and Girl with a Pearl Earring. I loved Fallen Angels so much that I thought I would love this one but....ugh..I sooo could not get into it. Too much jargon about fossils for me. LOL
I'm now reading the 2nd book in the Sophie Tracy series that I think I first heard of from you!! Happy reading!!

nikkipolani said...

An interesting perspective, Susanne. I hadn't considered the financial side of astronaut families and just assumed their income was commensurate with the risk to their lives. Thanks for the review!

Barbara H. said...

This sounds like a really interesting book. I've struggled with my husband's traveling some times, but I'm thankful he never had to go that far! :-)