The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

About (Goodreads)

In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. This is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.

My Thoughts

I don’t normally read historical fiction books because I’m not a huge fan of history, it bores me. However, I read this book because it was highly recommended at the library and I thought, ‘why not!’. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book.

As with most books I review, I usually peruse others views on the book to see if I’m in the majority or minority on how much or little I liked the book. I’m really surprised at how many people had problems with this book. The author does her best to explain that she takes liberties with her story, as it’s fiction. Let’s remember that, shall we? FICTION. This is a novel based on real people but it. is. fiction. Are there truths? Sure, absolutely. But there’s also a lot of faslehoods, which, have you read fiction? Yeah? Well, guess what..fiction ain’t real.

Like I said, it surprised me how many people didn’t like Benedict’s “lies”. She told a story about a remarkable woman and that’s what people took from this telling.

Mitza Maric was ahead of her time. She was a genius in her own right who made a terrible mistake by marrying the selfish, egotistical Albert Einstein. When I first began reading this book, I honestly, 100% didn’t even know Einstein had been married. It’s not something that is ever mentioned when learning about him. Or maybe it was, but briefly and wasn’t stressed as important. I did a lot of google searches to see how much lined up with what Benedict wrote in this book of fiction. I was surprised to find out a good majority did line up. Mitza was remarkable. Truly. She was no doubt an outcast (as stated in the book for more reasons than just her brilliance), but that gave her determination to me. To me, even though she was this outcast with little to no confidence in who she was as a person or scientist, she was refreshing. And reading a refreshing book, opens your mind.
In the reviews I read, most people had a problem with the opening about her and Einstein’s courtship. I’m in the small percentage, who was riveted. This book captured me from the beginning. I’ll be honest, when any science-y stuff went down, I was like what? (confused face). But the story, her story, was what captured my attention and held it. Mitza was encouraged from a young age by her father, which means a lot back then, to further her education more than most daughters, or women in general, were usually encouraged. She had a limp from a congenital defect but that doesn’t really stop her. She uses as an excuse numerous times, but it never really stops her. She overcomes it as strong women do. And she is strong. Stronger than anyone, including herself, gives her credit for.

Let me be real. I was disappointed she fell for Einstein. In the novel, he seeps slimy. But she can’t see it. Was he truly in love with her? Sure, I’m sure he was well-intentioned at first. But I wonder if maybe he saw just how brilliant, just how genius she was, and he exploited that for himself. I mean he did exploit her genius. All you have to is read the book to see that. But it’s lack of compassion, empathy, love for their first child that made my blood boil. It made me despise Albert Einstein in the book so much that he could refuse to his own child. He was a selfish prick who I was so hoping Mitza would see.

My heart broke when her daughter died. As a mom, I just couldn’t even imagine the pain of losing a child and especially so young. The emotions this book provokes is astounding. Their flirtatious relationship in the beginning makes you happy and almost bashful for seeing their intimate moments, the heartache, the betrayal, the hurt and pain that Mitza endures in those couple of years from the birth of her daughter until Einstein decided to marry her are so heart wrenching that you wish to jump in the book and beat the shit out this man. He NEVER sees his beautiful daughter. I understand that back then, a child out of wedlock what a BIG no-no. But if he truly, loved and cared for Dollie as he said then wouldn’t he at least try to do something for this woman he wants to marry? Yes, is the answer all other answers are wrong.

The progression of their relationship is heart wrenching. I hated Albert Einstein so much at the end of this book I couldn’t believe that he was such a renowned scientist. Which according to this novel, he stole the success and brilliance of his works from his genius wife. Was he a genius in the book as well, yes he was. But he stole her works all because she didn’t have a degree to her name like he did. Because she had.a.baby. I was so livid the last few chapters of the book. The way he treated Mitza made me furious. I think meeting Madame Curie did Mitza a world of good. It made her wake up from whatever awful nightmare she had been having.

It’s always nice to read a book about a strong woman. Even if it takes her some time to realize her own strength. Mitza was a brilliant, strong, funny woman who deserved more than was given in this book. I really enjoyed learning things from this work of fiction. It made me learn because I wanted to know the truth versus this novel. A book that inspires learning is a good book indeed.

4 out of 5 stars. Why not 5? I think my hatred for Albert E just is so BIG that I have to give it a 4. It made me really look at him in a new light (yes, I know it’s a work of fitction but still).

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