It's because I have about 30 minutes a day for reading (that's a lot for some working parents, I know, be jealous). And sometimes I read op-ed or news articles instead of books. And sometimes I read things on Facebook or Twitter and get really annoyed and wished I had read the next chapter in "Hidden Figures" instead. If you are like me, and don't have much time, books like "Hidden Figures" are perfect for you. I could read one chapter, and if it was many days later until I could read the next chapter, I didn't feel lost at what the plot was. I think it's also a reason I liked Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me?" and Amy Poehler's "Yes, Please." If I couldn't come back to the book for a few days, no problem. I wasn't going to loose my place or forget what had happened in the plot.
But I digress. If you've seen the movie, "Hidden Figures," then I highly recommend you read the book. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend you read the book. Another reason I really liked the book is that it was a historical narrative. The movie really focused on the 3 women, Mary, Dorthy, and Katherine, and had dialogue between people and Hollywood suspense (check the numbers as count down happens! Yeah, that didn't happen in real life; it was at least 3 days prior to the space flight). The book does focus on these 3 awesome women, but more in a bibliography way (remember reading and writing those in elementary school?) where you get this sequential telling of their lives with some emotional insight and direct quotes from them (no dialogue).
You also get a bibliography of what is happening at NACA/NASA--their testing planes during wartime, adhering to presidential employment orders to hire people of color, and other chronological order information. You also get what is happening in the country's history (USA)-- Rosa Park's refusal to move to the back of the bus, Dr. King's "I Have a Dream," Virginia's stupid and sickly stubbornness to integrate schools. I enjoyed learning about the background of NASA and the USA, the good and the bad.
There's definite low points (some shark stuff the USA did) in the integrated stories of these women, NASA, and, the USA, but it is a story of inspiration. As Margot puts it "It's a story of hope, that even among some of our country's harshest realities-legalized segregation, racial discrimination- there is evidence of the triumph of meritocracy, that each of us should be allowed to rise as far as our talent and hard work can take us."
I do not understand what it was like to be a black, female engineer back in the 1950s and 1960s, nor do I fully understand what it is like to day to be a black, female engineer. I do have empathy, and that empathy fills me with a hope-- minorities, females, minority females will be allowed to rise as far as their talent and hard work can take them. I promise to pay forward the benefits that I have reaped for standing on the shoulders of these women, Mary, Dorthy, Katherine, and all the female engineers who came before. My accomplishments are in part because I stand on your very strong shoulders. Sincerely thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.