Monday, May 9, 2022

Review - Far Side of The Moon by Liisa Jorgensen

Today I'm excited to be sharing my review of Far Side of The Moon by Liisa Jorgensen, the real love story of Frank and Susan Borman and the life of a military family thrown to the wolves.

Thank you to Smith Publicity for the review copy!

ISBN-13: 978-1641606066
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Release Date: 12-07-2021
Length: 336pp
Source: Smith Publicity for review
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



The decades-long love story of a NASA commander and the leader of the Astronaut Wives Club

Far Side of the Moon is the untold, fully authorized story of the lives of Frank and Susan Borman. One was a famous astronaut—an instrumental part of the Apollo space program—but the other was just as much a warrior. This real-life love story is far from a fairy tale.

Life as a military wife was beyond demanding, but Susan always rose to the occasion. When Frank joined NASA and was selected to command the first mission to orbit the moon, that meant putting on a brave face for the world as her husband risked his life for the space race. The pressure and anxiety were overwhelming, and eventually Susan’s well-hidden depression and alcoholism finally came to light. Frank had to come to terms with how his “mission above all else” mentality contributed to his wife’s suffering. As Susan healed, she was able to begin helping others who suffered in silence from mental illness and addiction.

Discover how Frank and Susan’s love and commitment to each other is still overcoming life’s challenges, even beyond their years as an Apollo commander and the founder of the Astronaut Wives Club.

Read an excerpt:

“Every Man A Tiger” by Liisa Jorgensen


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 5 - “Every Man A Tiger” of Far Side of the Moon: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and the Woman Who Gave Him Wings.


On December 20, 1951, Frank boarded a transport ship called the USS Ainsworth feeling lonelier than he ever had in his young life, with a busted eardrum and a flying career that was possibly over before it had begun.

It would take twenty-one days to get to Manila. The Ainsworth docked in Hawaii on December 24 for four hours ashore. The only thing Frank cared about was getting to a phone and calling Susan to wish her and little Fred a Merry Christmas. It would be the last time he would be able to speak to her for a very long time.

Frank knew of one hotel in the area—the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Lobbies in most of the

bigger hotels had public pay phones, so he made his way there as fast as he could. Spying a phone that was not being used, he was so anxious to make the call that he rushed in and left the door of the booth wide open.

“Hello, I would like to place a person-to-person call to Tucson, Arizona, please,” Frank said in a rush to the operator.

“I’m sorry, sir, but the calls for Christmas Eve to the mainland have been reserved for months now. There is no way that you will be able to get through.”

“I have about four hours to wait. I won’t leave this phone for a second,” Frank assured her.

“Sir, again I am sorry, but you would need to wait about four weeks,” she responded.

Frank hung up the phone and walked through the lobby in a daze. He looked completely devastated and was about to walk out of the lobby doors when a well-dressed man came over and put his hand on Frank’s shoulder.

“Is everything OK, soldier?” he said in a quiet but kind voice.

It wasn’t in Frank’s nature to unburden himself to a complete stranger, but there was something about this man that made him just blurt everything out.

“No sir, I am not OK. I have just over three more hours of leave left before heading to Manila on a transport ship, and I just wanted to wish my wife and new baby son ‘Merry Christmas,’” Frank said in a distressed voice.

“There are no public phone lines available. There is no way for me to get through.”

The man looked at him sympathetically. “I happen to be the manager of this hotel, and I am going to see what I can do. Don’t move.”

Frank closed his eyes and prayed that there would be some way to hear Susan’s voice. It was the only Christmas present that he wanted.

The manager came back about five minutes later and handed Frank a key. “Here you go. Just head up to this room, and you can use the private phone in there to talk as long as you want.” The man smiled as he patted his shoulder again and turned to go.

“Wait, sir,” Frank said with tears in his eyes. “I can’t thank you enough. You have no idea what this means to me. Please let me pay you something.”

“No—that won’t be necessary, and you are most welcome. Thank you for your service. Merry Christmas,” he said.

“Merry Christmas, sir,” Frank whispered, trying to keep his emotions in check as he held the key tightly in his hand.

Frank took the stairs two at a time as he bounded up to the third floor. He opened the door and didn’t look at anything in the room except the phone on the desk. He dialed the number he had known by heart since high school.

“Hello,” Susan answered, sounding tired.

“Hello, Su Su.”

“Frank?” Susan paused in disbelief. “Frank . . . how are you able to call me?” she said in an excited voice.

“Someone was looking out for me,” Frank said gratefully as he looked up and smiled. “Merry Christmas, sweetheart.”

He could hear the emotion in Susan’s voice as she answered.

“Merry Christmas, darling. I miss you so much. Every day . . .every hour.”

Frank closed his eyes and smiled for the first time since he’d gotten on the airplane to leave his family. They spent the next two hours talking about little Frederick and everything that he had missed since he left. He kept it all tucked away so that when the nights ahead became too solitary, he would remember the sound of her sweet voice.

When they finally had to say good-bye because Frank needed to get back to the Ainsworth, Susan hung up the phone and put her head down on the table. She would have given anything to be with Frank right now, regardless of the conditions. Living with her mother had always been extremely challenging, but it was almost impossible now. Susan would realize later in life how she enabled the dysfunctional relationship with her mother by not standing up to her, but as a twenty-one-year-old new mother, she just slipped back into the pattern of trying to survive.

Ruth was constantly criticizing her when it came to anything about her son. Susan couldn’t seem to do anything right as a new mother, and most days she felt like an unwanted guest in her childhood home. “I have to get through this,” she whispered to herself. “For Frank and my little boy, I will do anything.”

She slowly got up, wiped the tears away, and took a deep breath. She pasted the feigned smile onto her face that had become second nature and walked out of the room to celebrate her son’s first Christmas.

Liisa and Frank

My Review:

Far Side of the Moon
Liisa Jorgensen


Jorgensen’s poignant new book features the Epic love story of Frank and Susan Borman, the tight bond they had, the highs and the lows they survived and how even when astronauts had movie star status their commitment to one another never faltered.

Frank was a pioneer in the space race and probably single handedly saved the Apollo program, he was a no-nonsense man whose motto was “The mission always comes first”, but he was also a loving husband and father albeit for many years of his life more absent than present.

Susan was the heart of her family and the epitome of a military – NASA then corporate executive’s wife, always putting her husband’s career first, always making the most of what ever situation the family found themselves in and as a result often suffered in silence. She saw first-hand how families in the space program often became collateral damage. She was a co-founder of the astronaut wives club, and a consummate hostess, she was in fact everything that Frank needed her to be, until she needed him more.

The book thanks to the author’s meticulous research showcases the professional and personal journeys of this incredible couple throughout their long (over 70 year) marriage, giving an in depth look at a family often under a microscope wearing the mask of a “perfect family” for greedy American’s glued to their TVs about anything to do with the space race.  The most profound thing from the read was Susan’s ingenuity as a young military wife often turning a military issued rambled down shack into a livable home, and when Frank became the nurturer when Susan needed him, their devotion to each other was inspiring.

Check out the publisher's book page full of pictures, videos and other really cool stuff about Apollo and the couple


“This is a true love story—it has it all: adventure, sacrifice, fear, perseverance, redemption and heartbreak.” —Dee O’Hara, nurse to the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs

"This exceptional book presents the true perspective of those intense, high-energy, high-visibility years of Apollo, especially the challenging roles of the families. Susan and Frank Borman were leaders in the community, respected and admired by all—and this book will tell you why. As a husband, an astronaut, and a manager, Frank Borman was a true leader, the epitome of 'Stand by Me.' And Susan's story is the most accurate description of the lives of the 'astronaut wives' I have ever read, from the glory of success to the grievance of loss. Enjoy this insightful book, and you will learn more about the human story of Apollo, especially about many of us who were fortunate to have participated." —David Scott, astronaut on Gemini VIII, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15

“Countless books have been published about the Apollo era, but this one stands apart, highlighting the “ride” taken by an Apollo family. The author shares the ride in wonderful detail, bringing the reader along on the very personal voyage of Susan Borman, who gave Frank wings. This is Susan’s story, well told and well deserved.” —Michael Collins, astronaut on Gemini X, Apollo 11

“Far Side of the Moon is a beautiful true story of how deep love and God’s grace carried Sue and Frank Borman through very difficult times. We believe the book expresses an honest account of many of the families working at NASA during the US race for the moon—the ambition, competition, and pressures on the astronauts, plus the stresses, loneliness, and sacrifices of the wives, was very real. The reader is shown that the same issues in marriages occur in careers other than the space program. We highly recommend this very personal story.” —Dotty and Charlie Duke, astronaut on Apollo 16

“Liisa Jorgesen artfully captures the humanity, indeed the love, that was formed, sustained, and continues today between Frank and Susan Borman in the midst of great odds. Far Side of the Moon has two heroes in that sweeping relationship.” —Capt. Phil “Rowdy” Yates (USN Ret.), Chief US Navy Test Pilot, Joint Strike Fighter CDP

“As astronaut's wives, Susan Borman and I shared the highs and lows during the two missions our husbands flew together. I believe that Far Side of the Moon captures the unseen human side of what it was really like to be an Apollo family.” —Marilyn Lovell, wife of James Lovell, astronaut on Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13

"For readers of Lily Koppel’s The Astronaut Wives Club (2013), this is a more personal and focused story, a tale in which few punches are pulled, and all the collateral damage of being one of America’s heroes is laid bare." — Booklist

has worked as a writer and story editor on a diverse variety of film and television productions for Myth Merchant Films for over 20 years. She believes in the power of story and its ability to help audiences transform and become better humans. She is especially interested in ending the stigmas associated with mental illness and disorders, as well as highlighting those who serve a greater good and live for something other than themselves. Liisa is the author of the new book, Far Side of the Moon: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and the Woman Who Gave Him Wings. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


  1. Wonderful review Debbie. I love these stories of hope, courage and helping others.

  2. This sounds really good, I like a story of fact where someone overcomes something big like depression and alcoholism.

  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful review!! Liisa Jorgensen