Wednesday, April 23, 2014


"The Astronaut Wives Club" by Lily Koppel   Grand Central Publishing   271 pages   $28

The club began with the first group, the original seven, in 1959, followed by the New Nine in 1962 and finishing with The Fourteen in 1963.  All the astronauts worked on the Gemini program which concluded at the end of three years.

Largely abandoned by their husbands who spent months away from them training, the wives eventually banded as a supportive group.  Their membership was clarified when each of them wore a gold link bracelet with a little gold whistle on it - "If you need us, just whistle!"

Space exploration was a subject unknown to everyone involved.  NASA, very much the ruling body, wanted to present a picture of strong, brave American men readily dashing off into space, applauded by loving wives and cooing children. 

"The Perfect Family" was what NASA sought and of the first seven wives, Annie (Mrs. John) Glenn was the role model that NASA loved.  In 2010, she turned 90, having spent 50 years in the spotlight as Perfect NASA Wife." 

Real people and their actions and words usually make for a good story and this is no exception.

"You Can Date Boys When You're 40" by Dave Barry   Thorndike Press   239 pages   No price listed.

Dave Barry can be very funny, but it's patchy funny.  Most of the time his humor is that of a 14 year old boy.  Reading Barry is sort of an acquired taste.  But in fairness, most of this book was actually funny ... perhaps he is maturing?

On flying:  the scanner "sees" through your clothing and takes a picture of your nakedness and then the photo is sent to a roomful of TSA agents who vote on whether to put it up on FaceBook.
His daughter:  Wife Michelle talks to her and then relays information to Dave such as "whether she's happy, what grade she is currently in, whether she has had any major operations, etc."  This seeming utter lack of parental interest stems from the fact that he isn't interested in why her 1,177th friend is mad at friend 2,005  and she isn't interested in the Miami Dolphins.

A large chunk of the book is his advice on how easy it is to become a best-selling author.  Trust me - don't read this part. 

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