I am astounded, now that I have finished reading this amazing book! There is so much information within the pages, not only regarding Madame Curie’s incredible endeavors and work ethic, but also illuminations on her family life, from childhood through motherhood.
I was extremely touched by the poignancy in which she showered love, quite often through correspondence, on her daughters. Within those letters the love she had for her daughters shines through, yet the love of her work does also. It was a lot to ask of her children, that they should patiently await her appearance. Yet, somehow her love of them did illuminate their lives in her absence.
Eve felt the absences the most, and was always in a state of yearning for her mother. Irene missed her, but was better able to cope with her long absences. The references throughout the book of her being an absent mother, begs one to wonder what kind of mother she really was. If you ask her daughters, she was a wonderful one, and one who fostered their passions.
Her daughters went on to be distinguished, respected and admired in their own chosen fields. Eve became a journalist, and Irene followed her mother’s science leanings. Eve became an American citizen, while Irene remained in France.
I was enthralled with the scientific details, and enthralled with the steadfastness and devotion that Madame Curie dedicated to her work. The fact that the results of her work, along with her husband’s was never patented, gave me new insight into the humanistic approach of her/their work. She believed the results belonged to humanity, not to her or her husband.
Marie Curie was a woman, who at the time, was in what was known as a “man’s world”. Her laboratory was like home to her. She felt totally comfortable in the laboratory surroundings. She outshone most men in her vision and determination regarding radioactivity. She worked with her husband, and won the Nobel Prize.
After her husband’s death she began an affair with a married man. This became a scandalous situation and their affair was fodder for many rumors, gossip and newspaper articles. Her once effective and illuminating reputation was left at odds. Those who once adored her, ignored her. It was a sad time for her, especially after all that she had accomplished up until then.
Her strength and dedication got her through the worst of times. Her gift to humanity is one that should never be forgotten.
The book has left me wanting to read it again, and I know that once I do, I will view it with more completeness. I applaud Shelley Emling for her research and dedication to this masterful and brilliant book.
I want to thank LibraryThing and Palgrave Macmillan for the complimentary copy. It has been a privilege to have read this stunning book.