Book Review: Travelling to Infinity – Jane Hawking

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“I say to you what I always say when things cannot be altered: count your blessings.”

While many have often worshiped and stared in awe of Stephen Hawking, there is one person who many do not even consider. For Stephen to overcome his disability and become the man he is today he needed love and support that wasn’t freely available when he was diagnosed. Let me introduce you to Jane Hawking, who fell in love with Stephen as a young girl at university and grew into a woman with an incredible sense of determination.

Through Jane Hawkings eyes we are shown her life with Stephen, from the beginning when she met him at a party, through his diagnoses, the fights with the university in the face of eviction, raising children and putting her own dreams aside. Jane Hawking has an incredible sense of resilience through everything. What many don’t know is that Jane is also a professor and incredible academic, although at a time she was surrounded by men and having to fully support Stephen, she thought that it would never happen.

“That single afternoon completely destroyed whatever illusions I might have held about combining motherhood with some sort of intellectual occupation.”

It would be wrong not to mention the Oscar winning movie, The Theory of Everything, which I didn’t know when watching had come from this book. It is one of my all time favourite movies and so of course I had to read the book. I was pleasantly surprised but at the same time my eyes were opened, obviously a lot was missed out. The focus has always been on Stephen and he’s incredible and deserves his credit, but after reading this I’m pleased that Jane also got her own moment.

I will say that this is a memoir that you have to stick with, but won’t regret. By the end I was emotionally connected to it and had a new hero in not Stephen, but Jane. She was everything that I aspired to be a wife, a mother and in the end an Academic. I also felt angry for her, upset for her at the end when Stephen left her for another woman, causing their divorce. I couldn’t comprehend it after all she had done, but again it didn’t stop her, she still achieved her dreams.

I’m going to give this four stars ****. It is a brilliant book, strong and interesting. We get an insight into the life of Stephen Hawking that we’ve never had before and we get a new hero too. If I can grow to be anything like Jane Hawking I’ve done something great. The reason I didn’t give it five stars is because there is some challenging language in the book as well as it being rather long. For the first time I feel like if I hadn’t seen the film I might not have finished the book because it does take some time to get through. That doesn’t mean that it’s not addictive, Jane’s way of telling her story is incredible and if you’re up to the challenge put it on your to read list.

Let me know what you think!

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