My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir. Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick, and Katherine G. Moore. 2021. [May] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: The serious look in Daddy’s eyes told me his words were important: “You’re as good as anyone in this town,” he said, peering down at my curious little face. “But you’re no better.”
Premise/plot: My Remarkable Journey is Katherine Johnson's autobiography. Katherine Johnson is a name you've likely become familiar with over the past six to seven years. Hidden Figures, the book, was published circa 2016 and the movie, Hidden Figures, followed. But this is her story in her own words--I believe the coauthors are her daughters. (Her daughters are named Joylette and Katherine, so I'm inferring here, for better or worse.)
While the memoir covers her career at NASA, it covers so much more than that. She was a daughter, sister, student, friend, teacher, volunteer, mathematician, career woman, wife, mother, and grandmother. The memoir highlights relationships--not just events.
Another thing worth mentioning is the focus on context, context, context. Her memoir is rooted in the times in which she lived. She goes out of her way to share deeper contexts and elaborate on the times. For example, she provides great detail about race relations, segregation, desegregation, the civil rights movement, the cold war, the space race, etc. If there's a theme of the memoir it would be education, education, education.
My thoughts: I loved this memoir. I found it fascinating, informative, and well crafted. I loved her writing style. I loved learning more about her family--her parents, siblings, husbands, children--and her private life. It was just an absorbing read.
Journey is a good fit for the title. The book isn't so much about the destination--though, of course, her years at NASA are a fascinating destination--but about the journey. It is about the people who helped her along every step of the way, who helped shape her into the amazing woman she was.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews