Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly – Review
I am going to stray from my normal review format for this book. I don’t think this type of book can be spoken about the same way I talk about fiction books. I think this book doesn’t deserve to be broken down into what I thought worked and what didn’t. That isn’t the type of book this is, this is about real lives and real events that unfortunately history has not shown to us.
I have been interested in the story of these women since the movie came out. I have not seen the movie yet, thought I do plan on it sooner or later. I always wanted to read the book first though. I am someone who wants the depth the book can give me over the movie.
This was a fascinating story. I know there are plenty of stories in history that we aren’t provided in school. We get the same handful of stories and the same look at events over and over again. I have always wanted to read more about those who stories have not made it into text books.
I fell into this book quite easily. I was enthralled by the lives of each of these women. Dorthy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were not only women struggling in a man’s world workplace but they were also African American at the height of Jim Crow era laws. Everything was against them yet they stood up and found a way to not only make a difference but make a serious impact on the space and aeronautical history of our country.
Their story was inspiring. They took a chance and they fought for what they deserved. They also were hard workers. They didn’t comprise their work because of the position they were placed in. They showed how smart they were. They showed the world what it meant to be a strong and hard working woman. They fought against stereotypes given to both women and African Americans.
Katherine Johnson’s story was the one that resonated with me the most. Her tenacity was inspiring. She was someone who did not back down. She knew what she deserved and she fought to be given that. No one was going to put her down and make her feel less because of her gender or race. I wish her story was one I had heard in school because she would have been someone I would have seen as a role model. Her fight and her strength are things to be admired.
I finished this book much quicker than I thought I was going to. I did get a little held back with the descriptions of the aeronautical science aspect. I am not a tech or science savvy person so those pieces made me pause at times. I would be enthralled by the women’s stories but then find myself feeling like I had started reading a foreign language. It helped to know what they were researching and helped me understand how smart these women were. I just am not a science person so that did throw me out of the book a little bit.
I am eager to watch the movie now to see how things compare. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read inspiring story that has been sitting on the edges of history for much too long.
Have you read the book or seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Do you have any further recommendations for books about women or people that history books have forgotten?