Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Length: ~8 hours
Description from Goodreads:
In the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.
Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.
My biggest takeaway from this book: Einstein fucking sucks.
I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Seriously though, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from liking a character to hating them so quickly. He starts off so nice and I was so rooting for Mitza and him, but then over time he just becomes unbearable.
Before writing this review, I did read through a few Goodreads reviews and several of them complained of it not being historically accurate, which I totally get. I don’t know much about Einstein so I’m not really sure how accurate his depiction is, but it seems like a lot of the private conversations between Mitza and Albert definitely wouldn’t have been documented, and therefore the author took some creative liberty.
So with that in mind, I’m going to try not to let his depiction in the book color my view of him too much, but I’m sure the author was basing his nastiness off of something.
As for the actual main character, Mitza. I really loved her. She’s such a strong female character, but also super relatable. She was incredibly driven, but also could be a bit of a pushover at times and acted on her emotions rather than her dreams. I can totally relate to the feeling of wanting to be successful in your given career field, but also wanting other things, like a relationship or a family. So often women are told that it’s one or the other, and I feel like the author really tries to address that issue here in the book.
Without going into too many details and spoiling things, I think her actions were probably highly accurate of women in this time period.
Despite the potential historical inaccuracies, I did really enjoy this book. The one thing I did have an issue with was the constant time jumps. Some of the chapters feel like they end in the middle of a conversation and then suddenly, the next chapter begins and it’s two years later.
I understand the need to skip time when you’re trying to tell the story of a big chunk of someone’s life, but I did find it hard to keep up, especially with the audiobook. I wonder if I would have had an easier time with this if I was reading the physical copy. Each chapter starts off by saying where and when it is taking place, but when listening I always forgot when the last chapter started. Maybe if I was reading it physically, it would have been easy to just flip back to the previous chapter to remind myself of time.