Tuesday, 15 April 2014
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
I was looking forward to The Astronaut Wives Club, it's always interesting to see how the lives of people around those with important jobs are impacted. I can't imagine what it must be like to know that your husband is going to be blasted into space on a mission that has a high likelihood of something going wrong - how do you cope with that kind of uncertainty? Unfortunately, whilst The Astronaut Wives Club was thoroughly researched and gave lots of information about the wives, it never really gave me that sense of what it was like to be them, what it was like to watch the launch of a rocket carrying your husband, or what it was like to not know if he would live or die. There was a lot of distance from the wives in the book, so I never really got to be in their shoes. And that's what I wanted out of this book most of all.
Similarly, a lot of the topics introduced were never fully explored. Koppel writes on several occasions about the rise of feminism in America at this time, and how this contrasted with the need of the wives to have a cookie cutter perfect family and always look their best. Some of the wives were talented in their own right, but Koppel never really examined these tensions, and whether this caused resentment in their marriages. Lots was made of the infidelity of the astronauts and the resulting divorces, but again this was just reported - I didn't get a sense of what it was actually like. The book would have been better if both of these themes were investigated more thoroughly.
Because of these issues, The Astronaut Wives Club missed the mark for me. It was still an interesting read, and I admire the research Koppel has undertaken, but it wasn't engaging or as thorough as it could have been.
Source: From the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
First Published: 2013
Edition Read: Headline, 2014
Score: 3 out of 5