by Erin K. | | 2 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 3 of November’s Online Book Club discussion of Hidden Figures.

How are you doing with the book so far? For those who have watched the movie, are you finding that the movie is really different from the book? Several of the scenes in the movie were really different from scenes I remembered reading from the book. Weren’t you glad that Dorothy was able to keep her job at Langley after the war was finished? By the end of chapter nine, she became the head of her unit. That was really cool. I kept cheering her on as I read, so I was glad to see her recognized for her contribution to the computer program. I was interested to read how Dorothy immediately latched on to the IBM computer and started taking classes to use it right away. She was so smart to see that the mechanical computer would eventually perform the job of the female mathematicians.

At the beginning of chapter 11, there’s a really interesting incident that happens to Mary Jackson involving the bathroom. If you’ve watched the movie, you’ll remember that this incident happens to Katherine in the movie. In the book, Mary is humiliated and angry when there isn’t a bathroom she can use in her work area. To make matters worse, when she asks about the bathroom, some white co-workers laugh at her and make her feel like a second-class citizen.

This incident particularly touched me. I can’t imagine not having something so basic as a bathroom I could use near where I work, or how demeaning it would be to be told that I was not good enough to share a bathroom with my coworkers. Mary was brave to continue working even though she was treated so unfairly. I was glad that after this incident, she was able to transfer to another department. That transfer led her down the path to becoming NASA’s first black female engineer.

Katherine Goble begins working at Langley during this section, and from the beginning, we see that she is a special worker. After only working for two weeks with Dorothy, she moves to the Flight Research Division. Katherine immediately makes an impact in that division, proving her incredible intellect and insatiable curiosity.

In the last chapter of this section, Sputnik launches into space. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics evolved into NASA and Langley started focusing on space flight. This causes a change for the women, but it seems like it will be an exciting one.

Were there any other parts that particularly stood out to you? Do you enjoy reading about the career journey of any of the women more than another? Are you finding it hard to keep all of the names of all of the women straight? Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments section!

Before you go, make sure to check out this cool video of Katherine getting a birthday greeting from the International Space Station!


Make sure to read the last chapters before joining us next week!

2 Responses to “Hidden Figures, Week 3”

  1. Carrol

    I have to admit I am having a hard time getting through all of the scientific details. I am really enjoying the parts of the book that describe what is personally happening to each woman.

    I agree the movie differs from the book. I recognize some of the events, but they are happening to different women in the book.

    My favorite character is definitely Dorothy. She is such a hard-working woman. She doesn’t expect things to just fall into her lap. She goes after what she wants. She is also a very dedicated mother.

    I was really sad to read the section about Katherine losing her husband. Although it is a very difficult time, she is determined to keep the family moving forward.

    I will keep reading and look forward to the specific details about space flight and how it will affect these women’s lives.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I’m glad I am not the only one who felt like the book and the movie were really different. Part of me wondered if I just wasn’t remembering the book very well, or if the events were happening to different people!

      I’m glad that Dorothy is your favorite–I thought she was really cool. I loved how she was such a go-getter, and I loved how she was able to see the future of computers before everyone else really realized their significance.

      I hope you are able to read through the last section! Don’t let all of the details bog you down!

      Talk to you next week.

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