Book Review: The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

Turn the knob and push the door open, I told myself. You can do this. Crossing this threshold is nothing new. You have passed over the supposedly insurmountable divide between male and female in countless classrooms before. And always succeeded.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict tells the story of Mileva Maric, an intelligent woman who was amongst other pioneers for women in science. At a time when education for women was rare, Mileva, better known as Mitza, set out to accomplish a great deal.

I walked a fine line between my insistence on this untrodden path and the conformity still demanded of me.

Mitza set her sights on the boys club of physics. Her study at university proves to be enlightening in a variety of ways.

The world of physics was where I belonged. Embedded in its secretive rules about the workings of the world— hidden forces and unseen causal relationships so complex that I believed only God could have created them— were answers to the greatest questions about our existence. If only I could uncover them.

Struggling throughout her life for acceptance, Mitza finds it in the women at her boarding house who are of the same caliber. She finds it also in one man, a fellow physics student, Albert Einstein.

My feelings were more complex; I felt alive in Mr. Einstein’s company, understood and accepted.The sensation was unique and unsettling.

Mitza is forced to battle between her studies and the role forced upon her as a marriagable woman by the society she inhabits. Her choice is difficult and and times nearly impossible.

Suppressed over the past year, my feelings for Mr. Einstein hadn’t disappeared. If anything, they had grown. Sometimes, I wondered whether maintaining my friendship with Mr. Einstein was folly, whether it ignited emotions I should be dampening. But I had chosen my physics path, and he sat firmly upon it, I reminded myself for the hundredth time that day alone. I couldn’t very well ignore him; after all, he was my lab partner.

Mitza and Albert create a life together that is built on their shared love of physics but can it outlast the struggle for success and against the strains of conventional society?

Dripping  with feminist undertones, The Other Einstein is a heartbreaking story of one woman’s swim against a current of obstacles.

Read Voraciously .

Thoughts ?

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A review copy of this title was provided by Sourcebooks Landmark via Netgalley


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