Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking
Alma Books (ebook), 2013
Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous and remarkable scientists of our age and author of the scientific bestseller “A Brief History of Time”, which sold over 25 million copies across the world and will be adapted as a children’s book in the Autumn of next year. In this compelling memoir his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness. The inner-strength of the author, and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband, make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author’s candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend. In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the faultlines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth. The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.
The story of my life with Stephen Hawking began in the summer of 1962, though possibly it began ten or so years earlier than that without my being aware of it.
Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen didn’t really work for me. I’ve wanted to read this book for ages since I saw trailers for The Theory of Everything. Unfortunately, this memoir doesn’t quite live up to expectations. I found it very overwritten, drawn out and almost tedious in places. Jane pretty much recounts every second of her 25-year marriage to Stephen. However, great chunks of this are boring and not really necessary. It’s not necessary to share absolutely every moment of her life with Stephen. A blurry water-colour is fine. Jane goes into a lot of detail about Stephen’s work as a scientist. I found these parts the most boring. I’m not scientifically minded and much of the information went right over my head and caused me to flip through the pages to the next chapter. I did feel sympathy for her at times. Stephen had already been diagnosed with motor neuron disease when they get married. She took on a huge responsibility to care for him, finish her degree and take care of their children. Hats off to Jane. I must confesses that it wouldn’t be me. I don’t have a caring enough nature to take on the responsibility of being with someone who is disabled. I’d have run a mile. I also found it incredibly sad when their marriage ended. This event doesn’t paint Stephen in a great light. Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen is just okay but not as special as it could have been.