Amber's Reviews > Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
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it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, target-bookclub

Man I really really wanted to like this book. I enjoy nonfiction and I loved the subject matter the author went after. However, this was just so dry. It felt very clinical as opposed to experiencing life with these women. Also some of the facts that the author was trying to get across were so repeated their value lost meaning. Bummer because it could have been SOOO good.
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Reading Progress

July 16, 2016 – Started Reading
July 16, 2016 – Shelved
July 16, 2016 – Shelved as: target-bookclub
July 16, 2016 – Shelved as: non-fiction
July 20, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 99 (99 new)

message 1: by Jabreel (new) - added it

Jabreel Hey how did you get the book?? I want to read it

J.P. Mann Hmmmm...

I too found the writing disappointingly...wooden. Only seven pages were remotely poetic. (I've kept copies of the seven, out of over 220.)

I was hoping it would be luminous -- glowing even -- with all the celestial poetry I see in the physics of shepherd moons, real and artificial. And that it would be electrified -- by the vigor and reach of those fine minds... minds that could see the unwasted grace in parabolic curves...

Instead it was... rather flat, to my eyes. I am certain the movie will be transcendent... when freed from the (labored) print author's voice...

But I am keenly interested in others' takes: does it read better -- more fluidly -- than just a bunch of jumbled factoids, to kinder eyes?

Now we await the movie -- King Weekend 2017, expectantly.


Amber Jabreel wrote: "Hey how did you get the book?? I want to read it"

Hi, I am actually one of the readers that selects the books featured at Target as the "book club picks". We are a group of employees who voluntarily read a ton of books and then make selections for the club. It is awesome, I feel very lucky to be part of it.


Heather I'm just reading it now and I feel the same way. This book could have been fantastic but it's so boring (and I read a lot of non-fiction) and dry.

Leslie I was so looking forward to this book and dry and wooden as other readers have mentioned is exactly what I'm getting. Too many facts and not enough emotion.

Heather It is poorly written. There's no nice way to put it.

message 7: by Christina (new)

Christina I'm reading it right now and I feel this way! It is very technical.

Megan I'm also reading it right now and it is very boring and dry. I totally agree with your review.

Kathy Chumley I thought it was just me who found this book dry and rather boring. It's such a wonderful, exciting bit of history yet the book is disappointing (I too read a lot of non-fiction, so it's not that). I also saw the movie. While the film makers took a lot of liberties - so much *didn't* the way it was portrayed - at least the movie was uplifting. The book is just... dull.

message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Basney I thought it was my issue. You have made me feel so much better.

Heather The movie is really good and interesting. The book is just boring and poorly written. I especially loved the 91 word sentence telling us about the bus boycott and then a few pages later she tells us about it again.

I read that the movie was optioned on an outline of the book so my guess is that the book was rushed to be out before the movie. And rushed it was. Both the writing and the editing are bad. No editor should have let that get past a first draft.

message 12: by Breanna (new) - added it

Breanna I just started reading this and it is VERY dry.

message 13: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Sterling I feel the same way. I started listening to the audio version while working & driving, and I have had the hardest time getting into the story. I feel like it isn't actually a story at all, but a lot of facts with a few anecdotes thrown in for a little human perspective. I borrowed a paper copy of the book from a friend to start reading over the weekend, hoping it would be better to read when I am 100% focused on the words I'm reading, but it doesn't sound like I'm going to have much luck. I'll give it a try, though, and see if I can get into it better than the audio version. I was really looking forward to reading it. I may just have to settle for the movie.

David Quijano I gave it four stars, but agree with what you said. It could have been great.

message 15: by Hal (new)

Hal Gabow I loved the movie and immediately got hold of the book. Sadly I agree 100% with everyone who felt the writing was poor. I kept hanging in for when the excitement and deeds would rise to the movie's level. Finally I found myself at the epilogue, where the author tells us she had to cut all the latter-day material and proceeds
without missing a beat to recount the latter-day material.

Heather Hal wrote: "I loved the movie and immediately got hold of the book. Sadly I agree 100% with everyone who felt the writing was poor. I kept hanging in for when the excitement and deeds would rise to the movie's..."

I know!

Denise I so wanted to like this book, but I am on page 52 and bored to tears. I think I'll watch the movie.

Brian The women were amazing, the flow of the book was mind numbing.

message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa So glad to find another 2 star rating (which I rated it also). I totally agree with everything you wrote. Thanks for being honest.

Marji Morris So far I agree. I like knowing about these amazing women, but I feel as if I'm wading through wet concrete to get to their stories.

message 21: by Kate (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kate 60 pages in and I feel like I barely know anything about these women! When does it get good? I'm snoozing.

Marji Morris I can't answer that, Kate. I'm farther than that and except for a few pages, they are hardly mentioned. Just when it starts drawing me into one of their lives, the book takes an abrupt turn back to traditional history. Of course, I'm not a big non-fiction fan, so I may be doing the book a disservice.

Amber Kate it is sad to say but this is one instance when the movie is better than the book. The actresses brought the life I didn't get from the book.

Heather Kate wrote: "60 pages in and I feel like I barely know anything about these women! When does it get good? I'm snoozing."

It never gets good. I read lots of non fiction and I have never read another one as boring and as dry as this one.

message 25: by Jo (new) - added it

Jo Phew. I know people who have seen the movie and really enjoyed it - and I am one of those who tend to believe the book is always better, so bought the book and started reading ... Blimey - what had work.. I'm half way through and feel like I've achieved nothing.

Bobbi Glad to see that I agree with most of the reviews. I thought it w
as just me. I found it very difficult and boring reading. I was expecting more personal stories of the women involved. This might be one of the few times that the movie is better than the book.

message 27: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah So true and I'm listening To the audio book and the woman sounds like a computer so monotone. I want to like this book but I can't connect to it.

Marji Morris Ditto with the print book. I was really interested in the story but didn't feel as if I got enough of "story."

Amber I should also say is that a book based on science CAN be an entertaining read. For instance "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" that books was such an emotional life journey with so much science, I loved it!

Jennifer Espinoza Coates On pg 89 and am bored to tears. I also really wanted to love this book. Will still watch the movie.

message 31: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather McDonnell I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I feel like this story has so much potential to be amazing, but instead it's just so very boring.

Alexis I have to agree with everyone. I'm about halfway through and find it dry and repetitive. I only started reading it because my book club chose it for this month. I thought I was alone in my opinion.

Marji Morris Almost everyone in my book club shared the same opinion. We were disappointed.

Kristen I agree with the person who mentioned "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks".That book was incredible! I'm reading "Hidden Figures" now and am also finding it very dry, repetitive, and boring. I'm very disappointed. I do want to try to finish it, but I certainly won't be recommending it.

message 35: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Damian Omg I totally agree. I've been using it as bedtime reading because it so easily gets me to sleep. 😂😂😂

Tricia McBride Spaeth So true- it was a book club pick. I made myself read it, 2 book club members just closed the book and watched the movie. I did not enjoy this book.

message 37: by Blossomknitwear (new)

Blossomknitwear I agree with these comments. I really wanted to like this book, but I just can't. It's dry as dust. There was so much potential to tell the emotional, human stories of these women, but instead I'm slogging through pages and pages of dull technical writing. I hate to quit a book, but I'm just about ready to drop this one.

Heather Blossomknitwear wrote: "I agree with these comments. I really wanted to like this book, but I just can't. It's dry as dust. There was so much potential to tell the emotional, human stories of these women, but instead I'm ..."

drop it and watch the movie. So much better!

Laurie Nelson I agree. I watched the movie and loved it. I finished the book but it was a tough slog, so incredibly dry.

Kristen I felt the same way! I gave up on it.

Janet Davenport I'm not giving up. It's my book club selection. I'm about halfway through, but it is a real chore. I admire the women in it, but I'm not that interested in the scientific and mathematical aspects of the book. As said before, it's very dry.

Taylor S I was super excited to read this book and it was a complete disappointment. The book had a great potential but I found it dry which made it a chore to read.

Janet This is a very dry read. I felt I got the best glimpse of these remarkable women in the epilogue. Too many lttle facts throughout the book made it hard to stick with. I read a lot of non fiction, but this was difficult to get through. it took me a month to wade through it. I read 2 other "mindless dribble" books while reading this just to break things up.

Libby I agree with your assessment. I too like biographies but it is very "clinical" . I realize her main focus is documenting history but it could have been made a bit more something. I really liked the movie. I want to love the book and I think the information is extremely important and I can't believe I had never heard of the contribution these women made to the space program!

Karen I listened to the book since I drive so far to work. I also grew up during the drive for women's lib and was told that my options for a job was secretary, teacher., or nurse. I think my history made this a much more interesting read. It brought back a lot memories for me. I think this should be required reading for kids like "The Grapes of Wrath" was for me. It really makes you appreciate what these women did for us today!

Veronica Guzman I thought it was just me.

Veronica Guzman It took me months to read it but I didn't want to give up on it. I don't recommend it at all.

message 48: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly Fleming I agree with many of the comments above. I really wanted to love this book and chose to read it before watching the movie. But it's painful to read. Glad I'm not the only one.

message 49: by Monicae (new) - added it

Monicae So glad you posted this. I eventually gave up, but only when I realized that for all the time I'd spent, I was only slightly over halfway done. it NEVER takes me this long to read something. I even read Battlefield Earth in less time.

Peggy My book club read this book last month - and we agree with everything you said! What a shame - this could have been such a good book!

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