This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn't sure how I was going to like it when I first started reading. I am not the biggest science fiction fan and then when you add the layer of rewriting how something happened in the past I wasn't sure how I would like the book. I am glad I stuck with the book and finished it.
I really ended up enjoying the book and the way Mary Robinette Kowal wrote about different aspects of the US' history. It was interesting to read about a time when women were not given equal opportunities in the workforce and were treated as delicate objects. Her characters in the book are strong women who push against stereotypes and fight for what they want. I did find it interesting how Nicole had to reframe the expectations of what the astronaut opportunity meant to the women versus Elma's approach to the situation.
I appreciated that story praising women's accomplishments in math and science. Kowal did a wonderful job of showing the struggles women can face in choosing fields that are traditionally male dominated. Personally I had some similar experiences studying engineering and being in finance. Strong women are often judged in ways their male counterparts are not. It is nice to see a book that shows these struggles and has women succeeding on their merits without belittling men in the process.
This book felt like a fictional version of the Rocket Girls book which was so popular recently. I am very glad I read it and would recommend it to any women in the math and science fields.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a wonderful science fiction book that models an alternate history of the US in the 1950s. Many of the elements of the story still looked like much of the true history of the country. It was easy to see parallels with the actual space program history. I appreciated the author's strong female characters and their drive to succeed. Kowal addressed many of the obstacles women had to overcome as well as minorities at that time.
The book was a very good fictional version of the rocket girls book that was so popular recently.
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: