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Hidden Figures
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Monthly Reads > Hidden Figures - book and movie

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Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
When I first saw a trailer for Hidden Figures (2016), then learned that is based on a real life story, written by Margot Lee Shetterly, I realized there are so many amazing stories in the history of the world we don't know a thing about simply because they weren't deemed interesting enough. It is kind of sad that only now we are aware of the role of these women in the space race we witnessed last century.
I hope we'll learn a lot from this book and the movie! As usual, you are welcome to share with all of us your impressions and insights :)


Betsy | 20 comments I was quite impressed with the book and movie. Since I'm not good at math, it was amazing that these women had to fight so hard to take their rightful places in the scientific world. The acting was exceptional for the movie. The scene when she had to run across the parking lot to use the bathroom was quite telling about the bigotry that existed.


message 3: by Powder River Rose (last edited Sep 29, 2019 11:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Powder River Rose (powderriverrose) | 40 comments I was very impressed with the book and was unpleasantly surprised at the differences in the West and East coast in this race to space. I first listened to Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars Rise of the Rocket Girls The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt by Nathalia Holt Nathalia Holt and was fascinated by the history and dedication of these women. Then I heard of and listened to Hidden Figures which also was filled with history and dedicated women but they were treated unjustly even by other women.
In reading Hidden Figures I found it difficult to understand how they could have made a movie from it as it’s not a narrative book but as Hollywood is want to do they had to make up a lot. I enjoyed the movie but the audiobook is so much better and filled with more information than any movie can provide.
Thank you for this selection. I also listened to and am watching The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary The Professor and the Madman A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester by Simon Winchester Simon Winchester which was the second choice in the poll. The book is truly interesting and enjoyable as well as wonderfully well written and narrated.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
Powder River Rose wrote: "I was very impressed with the book and was unpleasantly surprised at the differences in the West and East coast in this race to space..."

Thanks for your thoughts on each book! I would like to read them all one day. They are all so interesting!

I am currently on the chapter 17 of Hidden Figures - so far I am very intrigued and fascinated. I didn't know anything about education system, social and family life in the segregated America, let alone about African-Americans of that time, not including prominent political figures and well-known strife for equality in 60s. This book really shines a light on it, and tries hard to make me (and other readers of course) learn about it all, just so we'll understand perfectly how it was living then in such times. The focus is on women of that time, smart and brave women, but in order to learn about them, we just ought to know about circumstances and events that shaped their lives.

Discrimination was so absurd and ridiculous. Imagine advances in science not realized because of that stupidity. Women not being able to work in science just because they were women. Men and women not being able to work in their field just because of the color of their skin. Married women not being allowed to work at all just because they were married.

I haven't read The Right Stuff. I think it might be interesting to follow this book with that one, just to see how it approached this theme, if at all.


message 5: by Lorena (new) - added it

Lorena (delhilainthecabin) | 160 comments I haven't been able to read the novel but found the movie really interesting. It is not my usual cup of tea, but the whole package really worked for me. It felt similar to the Help, in how it approached value and self-worth, with a very delicate but steely touch. Making very nuanced focus on small details that, for me, make the whole movie go from good to really good.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
Lorena wrote: "I haven't been able to read the novel but found the movie really interesting. It is not my usual cup of tea, but the whole package really worked for me. It felt similar to the Help, in how it appro..."

Oh I so hope the movie will be great! As Powder River Rose said, the narrative of the book isn't quite a straightforward movie material, so it must have been a daunting task to make it at all!


Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
I loved this book! It was at times difficult to keep focus, aeronautics isn't quite an easy subject to understand, but reading about those smart and successful women, those wonder-women with careers and beautiful families, who didn't give way to any sort of intimidation and obstacles, it was so inspiring and uplifting! I absolutely must see the movie :)


message 8: by Zeljka (last edited Feb 07, 2020 12:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
I finally watched the movie. It kept my interest high the whole time. The female characters, just like their real life counterparts, were awesome. Not to mention that until the end I even didn't realize Mary Jackson was portrayed by Janelle Monae! Taraji Henson was brilliant as K. Goble Johnson, and I was quite moved by Dorothy's struggle to have her work valued properly.

It is a sort of a positive movie women and young ladies should watch as encouragement to believe in themselves and that their situation can become better even if they think opposite at the moment. However... I wish it wasn't so all over the walls positive. The ladies in the book had amazing rich lives, with much more nuances movie didn't go into. Imagine working women of color having to deal with everyday discrimination, trying to have meaningful careers, while still managing to have proper family and social life. The movie could've stayed more true to the book and it still would be an impressive and rare piece of cinema.

(view spoiler)


message 9: by Zeljka (last edited Feb 08, 2020 11:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
There is a teaching guide to this book available as a free e-book (I found it on Amazon):

Hidden Figures Teaching Guide Teaching Guide and Sample Chapter by Margot Lee Shetterly Hidden Figures Teaching Guide: Teaching Guide and Sample Chapter by Kim Racon

I wish I had it while I was reading the book, it would have made my thoughts more succinct, and I dare say I would have remembered more discussion worthy details.

One of it is for example, competition between Soviet and American scientists. In that time America was desperate to be the first. And yet, they were so blinded by the fear of communism that they didn't see what actually made Soviet scientists better than American at that time. It wasn't ideology. Many scientists didn't care a bit about it (the series about Chernobyl showed what it was like, for real passionate scientists). It was misogyny and racism that inhibited Americans to move forward. One can't have open mind toward new ideas while being so opinionated toward women and people of color.


Zeljka (ztook) | 2879 comments Mod
Sad news came today - Katherine Johnson passed away yesterday aged 101. The New York Times wrote beautiful and very informative tribute:

The New York Times: Katherine Johnson Dies at 101


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Loved the book. And want to watch the movie.


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