Friday, April 10, 2020

Review: The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel (print/audio)

Title: The Astronaut Wives Club
Author: Lily Koppel
Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy
Published: June 2013, Hachette Audio / Grand Central Publishing
Length: 7 hours 46 minutes / 302 pages
Source: Audio via Library / Print via Publisher

As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.

As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.

My thoughts: I was a huge fan of the mini-series The Astronauts Wives Club that was on TV a few years back and while I had every intention of reading this book before watching that, we all know how that goes. I finally had the time to read this and did a combination of print and audio.

I love that we get insight into the women behind the men. One of the reasons why I was drawn to this is because as a woman, I'm always fascinated with how these women's lives are impacted by what their husbands' do. These women were thrown into the spotlight and not necessarily by choice.

What I found to be quite interesting is that the women were held to high standards by NASA - they had to behave, look a certain way for photos - yet the men could basically run around and do whatever they wanted. It was a little hypocritical, yet I'm not really surprised. They had to keep their true opinions to themselves and whether they were stressed or not, and let's face it, most times they probably were, they had to show the world all was good.

This was an enjoyable and enlightening book. It's a nonfiction book that reads like fiction and gives a snapshot of life during the Space Race.

Audio thoughts: I both read and listened to this book and I thought Orlagh Cassidy did a good job with the audio. It was easy to move back and forth from print to audio and to me, that is most important - I didn't feel like I was losing anything from the book if I jumped ahead in either format.


1 comment

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