I’m a believer in reading a book and then seeing the film. Or not. Let’s be honest. Some stories are best left as books, with the images swimming around your mind for weeks, months, years later. Savouring it. Watching the film version would never live up to your imagined images. The story is best left between the book cover.
I’ve been looking forward to reading and seeing Hidden Figures, after being introduced to it by fellow Yarn-Alongers reviews (thank you). I bought the book and intended to read it before our trip to the cinema. Needless to say, I conformed to my norm, and ran out of time. Like I didn’t see that coming!
This weekend, we went to see the film. It’s only just been released in the UK. I loved it. It is brilliant. If you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your list of must-go-to. You can thank me later.
With the subject matter, it would have been easy to go down the sensationalizing route, or to try and shock. I don’t think it does and that makes the story somehow stronger. I didn’t feel lectured or patronized. It has been a long time since I’ve felt the urge to stand up and applaud at the end of a film. It is that good.
It’s OK, I didn’t. I maintained my english reserve. My children would have died on the spot, if I had. Incidently, they (14, 12 and 9) loved it too, but were less moved to express their appreciation in the same way. Part way through the film, I did have to explain segregation to my 9 year old. The film gave all three children, a lot to think about and we have talked so much since, about the issues it raised. I’m probably most glad that they saw it.
Our cinema trip left me wanting to know more about the story and the women in it. I couldn’t wait to start reading the book and I’m now half way through. This book bucks the trend. I’m convinced that watching the film first, was the right way to appreciate the book, for me. It is not a light read. At points, it verges on text book depth. If aeronautic engineering or maths isn’t your cup of tea, please don’t be put off reading this book. If you are techy (like me), you’ll eat it up, but by no means does it get in the way of anyone else enjoying the book.
I am in awe of the strength of the brilliant women that the story follows. So many obstacles. So many people telling them that they couldn’t achieve their ambitions because they are women and they are black. As a woman in tech, decades later, I can’t remember anyone sitting me down and telling me I couldn’t follow my chosen career, because I wasn’t a man.
No-one told me I couldn’t. So I went ahead and did it. I followed my ambition.
Although, on the first day of an early job, I do remember looking around the huge, open-plan office and wondering where all the other women were. So maybe I just didn’t hear them saying it, while others did. I had it easy, which makes the journey of the three women, in the film, even more moving to me. They had so much more to contend with.
(I did learn a bit of Fortran and I did hold court in the head office boardroom of the bank I worked for, a few times, because I knew more about a subject than they did, but that is as far as comparisons go.)
There is only so much that can be included in the movie. In any movie. The book includes other woman that paved the way before the film picks up the story. Providing more context.
I’m only half way through. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.
And on to the knitting, seeing as it’s Wednesday….. I broke my no-buy rule. I bought sock yarn to knit a birthday (late) present for my husband. It is 4 ply Regia Snowflake. There was a knitted up pair of socks using the same yarn, in the shop, and I was won over. The band of snowflakes absolutely grabbed me and refused to allow me to leave without buying a ball of the self-patterned wonder.
I know. I’m weak. Resolve has now been re-established. I’m on the first sock and nearing the heel. I’m not sure the snowflake band is standing out as much. More of a snow blizzard.
I have been standing in our school playground for over nine years. Not continuously. Obviously. Although there are times when it feels like it. No. Just at the start and end of each school day.
At first it was great. I will talk to anyone, pretty much. I met the other parents, caught up with friends and talked to older parents who knew what was going on. A complete godsend to any new school parent.
As the years have elapsed, my enthusiasm has decidedly waned.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love picking up my children and catching up with their day. The difference is that most of my friends have either gone back to work or their children walk home by themselves. So no playground catch-up time. Plus, I’m now the older parent who knows what is going on. Well, most of the time. Novelty has gone. I should have left at the same time as my Eldest packed up and whizzed off to secondary school. Except, at that point, I had two more children and another five years to go. (Two and half years now left …and counting)
Secondary school is a contrast. For a while it made me appreciate the end-of-day primary school ritual. There is no standing in the playground waiting for a 13 year old to swan out of class cemented to her gaggle of giggling friends, where everyone seems to tower over you, except the teachers.
There is no chance to learn from long established secondary school parents, or reacquaint with adults you’ve not seen since toddler group. Unless you head along to a PTA social event. Now, I need to rely on school communication and my …now what do they call them…young person to keep me informed. This last avenue of information is strictly on a need-to-know-basis, of course.
It was with a renewed sense of curiosity that I started reading “The Playground Mafia“. My nine and a half years of playground observation have not gone passed without a fair amount of human watching. I was intrigued to see if the categories fitted in with my experience.
The Playground Mafia is set out as a field guide and written with humour. It has a fairly comprehensive list of types of parents that can be encountered in the playground as the school children escape their classes. I noticed no grandparents or other carers, but I’m guessing that the authors needed to draw a line somewhere. Although, I think this was a mistake, as both of these categories certainly are part of the playground dynamics.
Categories include Pushy Mum, One-son Mum, Helicopter Mum and Flaky Mum, who I can recognize. There is also Sporty dad, Toyboy Dad and Midlife Crisis Dad who I’ve not spotted in our playground.
I couldn’t help sniggering as I read. Yes, I spotted some friends and I spotted some characteristics in others. As I read on, it became slightly repetitive, but as already explained, the novelty of the playground has worn thin for me. It’s the sort of book that is best dipped into, rather than being read cover to cover.
I also could not help thinking that our playground isn’t quite so racey as the one in the book. Either that or I have been oblivious to all the signs of extra dubious activities.
If you have spent any time waiting to pick up children, whether at school or an after school club, you will spot somebody in this book that you recognize. Failing that there is a section at the back for cocktails and also collective nouns for the different categories, which might well appeal.
The end message seems to be to find the like minded people in your playground. From my experience, I’d say that is great advice.
I’ll be leaving this out for my friends to read, next time they come over. Or maybe I should leave it on the school bench at pick up time and just watch to see who takes it home.
Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge as part of the Britmums Book Club, which I thorougly recommend. All opinions are my own and honest. I was under no pressure from PTA Mum. Really.