For some reason, The Astronaut Wives Club didn’t interest me when it first came out. It was only after my mother raved about the strong women who were the focus of the book that I decided to read it. Koppel made the space race that captured Americans deeply personal by describing the experience of being the wife of the Mercury Seven astronauts. Almost as soon as the space program was announced, the men and their families were instant celebrities, and the way the wives adjusted to their new lives made for an interesting read.
The author did an excellent job of describing the politics of the NASA program and how the wives dealt with the bureaucracy. It was hard for me to read how the women’s lives were so rigidly confined to domestic unbliss. Since trouble at home could jeopardize an astronaut’s place in the space program, wives ignored philandering husbands and domestic problems. After learning how NASA and the astronauts manipulated the women, I loved reading about the women’s small acts of rebellion. One example is the rose dress on the cover of the book! I appreciated that after the closure of the space program, many of the wives developed into self-sufficient women who made decisions based on what would benefit them, not their husbands. I most enjoyed the first portion of this book which focused on the experiences of the original seven wives as they innocently ventured into a new experience was. The book was filled with many great stories that showcased the way the women supported each other.
This wasn’t a definitive book on space travel. For that, I would recommend The Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth. I’m happy my mom lent me this book because the lives of these women were fascinating. I can’t wait for the television serious, which I understand is already in the works!