Book Nook: Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly

Most people are probably more familiar with the movie version of Hidden Figures than they are with the book. I, however, still haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t even have that great of an excuse.

I could blame it on the fact that my wife doesn’t enjoy sitting down to an entire movie the same way I do, but the movie Hidden Figures was released 3 years before I got married.

Regardless, when I saw the book for sale I figured that if it was good enough to make a movie out of I should probably give the book a chance. (Now that I’m writing that thought out, it’s not really a good way to decide what books to read. There are plenty of crappy books that get made into movies.)

The book turned out to be pretty decent. It definitely could have been written from a more interesting perspective, as pretty much all the YouTube clips I’ve seen of the movie since reading the book weren’t even in the book.

But even though the majority of the book was pretty dry, I learned a lot about topics I had no knowledge of before. That alone might be reason enough to at least give the book a try.

My least favorite aspect of the book could actually be attributed to Margot Shetterly’s purpose for writing the book in the first place.

And it wasn’t that I was bothered that she was trying to recognize all the “hidden figures” who were involved in sending an American to space, and eventually a man to the moon.

Instead, I found it difficult that, in recognizing all these individuals, almost every single character in the book was referred to by name. That may not sound like a problem, but new characters were being introduced every few pages. A lot of these characters were only mentioned once, and I kept getting boggled down with all these names, wondering if they had been mentioned before or if they would be mentioned again.

As I said earlier, I know why she did so. These are real people, and they all deserve recognition. But the large amount of names made it more confusing for me.

Also, if you enjoyed the movie but haven’t read the book, my guess is you won’t like the book. Your favorite parts from the movie aren’t going to be in it. But if you haven’t seen the movie yet, give the book a shot first.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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