The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

Book #21: The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 322
Don’t recommend
Finished 8/11/13

From the 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; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK’s favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other’s children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon.

As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history. – See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/lily-koppel/the-astronaut-wives-club/9781619696457/#desc

According to the publisher, The Astronaut Wives Club “tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.” I had hoped for an in-depth story about the wives of America’s Mercury Seven astronauts. Instead I found a disjointed story that read more like a gossip story from the pages of People Magazine.

The stories jumped from wife to wife quicker than the astronauts jumped from “cape cookie to cape cookie”. There was very little continuity, no bibliography, no index at the end. A listing of the astronauts and their wives would have helped to keep them all straight. The author never gave the reader any real depth to the women, everything was skimmed over fairly quickly. This might have been a better book if Koppel had focused on just one group of astronaut wives. While much of the information regarding infidelity in the marriages has already been told, it was still discouraging to read.

In the end I found myself feeling sad and discouraged. Why did I finish this book? I kept hoping for “the rest of the story”, for something good in the lives of these women—but it never materialized.

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