Astronaut Wives Club (Koppel) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also, consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Astronaut Wives Club:

1. Talk about the lives of the different women covered in the book. Whom did you most sympathize with, admire, or dislike?

2. What did you find most impressive regarding the level of support the women provided one another? Is there anything in your own life that resembles the bond that developed among the astronaut wives?

3. Discuss the various stresses the women were under: the invasion of privacy, the absense of husbands, the not infrequent infidelity, and  the anxiety for their husbands' lives. What was most difficult? What would you have found most difficult. Do you find any aspect of their lives enviable? Were the lives of the astronaut spouses any more difficult than other spouses whose husbands or wives go off to war?

4. Talk about Betty Grissom, Pat White and Martha Chaffee—the widows of the three men who were burned alive during a pre-launch test of their Apollo 1 mission. How did each woman handle the horrific tragedy? Pat White was considered "the final victim of the Apollo 1 fire," writes Lily Koppel. Is there any way in which Pat White's life might have had a better ending?

5. Talk about the marital relationships within the couples. Which marriages did you find solid and which were troubling...and why? Were you surprised at the number of marriages that ultimately failed?

6. To what degree, if any, might the lives of these women be different today given the change in society's attitudes toward women? Consider, for instance, their reactions to the Life magazine article:

The wives were completely shocked, worrying about how America would judge them. They would never wear such a bold colored lipstick. They were mothers, not vixens.

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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