This month, in honor of Women’s History Month, book club decided read Hidden Figures along with everyone else and their mom. I had seen the movie when it first came out and immediately fell in love with the stories of Katherine, Mary, and Dorothy. I admired their strength and determination, working for NASA at a time when person’s race and gender either propelled them forward or held them back. When deciding on our February book, I gravitated toward the book off of which the movie was based, and could not have been more happy.
The book Hidden Figures differs from the movie in several ways. I enjoyed the personal stories and character development in the film, but what was lost in adaptation was just how long the struggle for equality went on. The movie focuses mainly on the space race. What it leaves off is the fascinating inception of the West Area Computers, beginning during WWII when much of the nation’s workforce was over seas.
I do not typically enjoy historical literature, however the writing of Margot Lee Shetterly paints a picture of the time such that I could not put this book down. One thing I noticed after reading nearly half of Hidden Figures was that the book is void of any dialogue, a feature that makes most characters more developed. This omission, however, was made up for by the detailed story telling of Shetterly. What she misses in dialogue, she makes up for in detailed background and explanation of character. After reading the book, I feel as though Katherine, Mary, and Dorothy had been in my living room discussing their time at Langley with me.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in space travel, women’s rights, racial equality, and history. While my knowledge of math and science did help me to understand the concepts better, a strong background in these topics is not necessary. I hope you enjoy Hidden Figures as much as I have. Happy reading!