Mileva Maric was the first wife of Albert Einstein. She was a Serbian physicist, the only woman among Einstein’s fellow students at Zürich’s Polytechnic. And Maric was only the second woman to finish a full study program at the Department of Mathematics and Physics.
A toxic marriage
As Levis explains in her review, The Other Einstein “is told from Maric’s point of view, highlighting her struggles as one of the few women of her time to be given the opportunity to study physics at an elite school, up until the demise of her marriage with Einstein.”
Maric’s contribution to Einstein’s work is still hotly debated. Some academics say she was no more than a research assistant. Others claim Maric made more of a more material contribution as a supportive companion.
What is true is that Maric gave up her scientific ambitions when she married Einstein and had their children. And she did not return to science when she and Einstein divorced.
As Levis comments, when reading The Other Einstein, “You go through moments of being in awe of Maric’s character and wanting to strangle her for not leaving her toxic marriage with Einstein sooner.”
Perhaps Levis is also expressing an understandable modern-day woman’s frustration that Maric had to give up her studies and work in science to be a wife and mother?
A situation many women still face today.
© 2017 Robert Fairhead
N.B. You might also like to read this blog post about a book I reviewed, Sweeties by Leon Silver.
Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.