This one was okay and therefore 2 stars. I don’t often rate books 1 or 2 stars, at this point in my Cannonball history my to read list is pretty well-honed in on books that I’m going to have a good response to (making them 3 stars or higher). But, back in the spring when I still had an Audible subscription this was one of their free Originals so I scooped it up.
I’m not sad I chose it, I just wish it knew what it wanted to be.
In 75 minutes of audiobook Paula McLain goes about telling the story of Marie Curie before she accomplished all the things that made her famous, when she was still Maria Sklodowska, a 25-year-old student of physics and chemistry at the Sorbonne. McLain has several false starts, painting a picture of a stark and withdrawn Marie who has sworn off interpersonal relationships for the single-minded goal of succeeding where so few women were even allowed to be. She also pursues the Marie that excels where others do not. We also get the Marie who still Lived in Warsaw and watched her sister and mother die, and hatched a plan to get her remaining sister and herself the university degrees they would ned to pursue their dreams of medicine and science.
But, McLain never really commits to any of these versiosn of Marie, bouncing between them and overlaying the love story of Marie and Pierre and his steadfastness in contrast to her determination to return to Poland, to work in science, and to succeed. He imagines a life where they can do those things together (short of moving to Poland, but the real Pierre did offer to follow Marie there). She eventually capitulates and they are married, within 8 years they will earn the Nobel Prize.
While A Mind of Her Own didn’t hang together for me, it certainly wasn’t the fault of Hillary Huber’s narration, she did a great job with the material at hand.