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Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen [Kindle Edition]

Jane Hawking
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous and remarkable scientists of our age and author of the scientific bestseller "A Brief History of Time", which sold over 25 million copies across the world and will be adapted as a children's book in the Autumn of next year. In this compelling memoir his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness. The inner-strength of the author, and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband, make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author's candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend. In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the faultlines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth. The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.

Product Description


"Jane writes about her former husband with tenderness, respect and protectiveness." -- Sunday Express

"A great read." -- Daily Mail

"Jane Hawking's harrowing and compelling account... rings very true." -- Irish Times

"Jane describes the final, painful years of her marriage in candid detail." -- Steve Connor, The Independent

"This is not a vindictive book, although the agony she went through is palpable; if Stephen's struggle to keep his mind clear is heroic, so is her determination to balance his escalating needs ad those of their three children." -- Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Jane Hawking currently lives in Cambridge, UK.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5203 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books (25 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846882850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846882852
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating. 12 Jan. 2015
By Liz Wilkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
**3.5 - 4 stars**

This was an absolutely fascinating read – Of course I have followed Stephen Hawking’s story just like everybody else, he always struck me as quite an enigmatic character but apart from his public persona I did not know a great deal. And I knew nothing of Jane Hawking, his first wife, who in this memoir tells it as it was for her and it is at turns emotional, funny and very engaging.

It is a love story, it is also the story of two people coming together and making a life, a life that is difficult and expected to be short lived. Jane Hawking does not pull punches with her narrative, but shows her inner strength in the face of adversity, both the good and the bad things that happen are told with an open honesty and a tendency to be blunt that is very appealing.

Of course this is a very personal story – as such I found myself wondering how much of it was coloured by what came later – I can’t say that Stephen Hawking came across as terribly likeable overall – although of course very brave, absolutely determined and often inspiring. Added to that was a sense of the arrogance that extraordinarily intelligent people can have, his disregard for Jane’s belief system and his impatience with other people is sitting right there, sometimes making me shake my head. Jane herself is not always likeable, which I guess shows that she wrote honestly even about herself, but I admired her grit and total and absolute love for her family that kept her going through some difficult times.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 7 Jan. 2015
This memoir is an honest account of Jane's life with Stephen Hawking, going into depth about their years together as they raised three children and saw his fame grow. The book centres very much on Jane and the struggles that she faced during their marriage. Stephen isn't portrayed in a particularly good light, being stubborn, in denial about his health needs, and refusing to accept any kind of external help to make their lives easier. It's a long book, but I found it a pleasure to read, with a flowing, honest and conversational tone. Although it does end with their divorce, it has been updated with a series of postscripts to bring it right up to date to reflect the current and happier relationship between Jane, Stephen and their children. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review on my blog)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A human story 6 Jan. 2015
By Beth
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So well-written, this book offers a scarce insight into, and compelling perspective on, the very human responses of a real family coping with the often overwhelming challenges of living with genius, fame and severe disability. It is given added poignancy because it reveals so much of the behind-the-scenes pressures and realities of the world of Cambridge academia, its huge accolades and its punishing demands.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I loved this fascinating book and could not put it down. Jane Hawking writes very well and is no slouch herself when it comes to academia. Behind the genius of Stephen Hawking was an exhausted, determined, interesting, brave woman. Well worth a read. I couldn't put it down.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doing one's best 16 Jan. 2015
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
Despite or perhaps because of my admiration for Steven Hawking's brilliance and the courageous determination shared with his former wife, now Jane Wilde, I was ambivalent about watching a film which I feared would be harrowing and intrusive as regards some of the more intimate aspects of motor neurone disease. In fact, it is a sensitive and moving portrayal of their lives from their first meeting when he was embarking on a PhD and about to be hit with the unexpected diagnosis of MND with two years to live.

The film is based on Jane Wilde's book, and in a radio interview I heard her approval of the production with particular praise for Felicity Jones's brilliant imitation of her own gestures and voice, including her clipped diction from a 1950s upbringing in an academic household. Eddie Redmayne also manages to assume with remarkable skill the appearance of Hawking as seen on television. It does not trouble me that he is not a genuinely disabled actor and I would think it hard to employ one since Hawking has to be shown in steady decline from the apparently healthy only slightly clumsy young man at the outset.

Since this is a commercial film, it touches fairly superficially on Hawking's mind-bending scientific theories and the grimmer details of managing his physical decline. The pain of the latter is shown in subtle ways as when, struggling to get him to co-operate over the use of a grossly inadequate letter-board to communicate after it has been necessary to give him a tracheotomy, Jane dissolves into silent tears. So, it becomes in essence the story of his relationship with his wife, with her part in the drama equal to his.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons 23 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book for many reasons, the story and the english language on which it is written. I learned lots of new english words. It is a very inspiring book, an example of determination, courage and love for a family. It is sad to perceive that most of her sacrifices,acts kindness and love, beyond her duty as mother, wife and companion were hardly recognised. Excellent read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
I usually only watch a film or read the book but after I saw the film, I felt compelled to read the book. Read more
Published 4 hours ago by Sara Hobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars She is a wonderful person.
I found this book totally absorbing and could feel the devotion to Stephen by Jane despite all the difficulties encountered. She is a wonderful person.
Published 1 day ago by mrs a e lawrence
3.0 out of 5 stars The film is better.
A huge amount of detail of Jane's life with Stephen, which after a while becomes boring and repetitive and I started skimming it. Hard work! Read more
Published 2 days ago by Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling to Infinity
Interesting book on a life spent with a genius and an insight into Jane's life. A bit "wordy" in places
Published 2 days ago by Onny
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking story
I have given a lot of thought about the lives of two people who despite all the terrible things affecting their lives have managed to maintain tolerant of their situation for their... Read more
Published 2 days ago by sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Good luck, Jane
This has to be the most gripping read I have had in a long time. The first wife of Stephen Hawking (respect) tells her own story of how difficult her life with Stephen really was. Read more
Published 2 days ago by eclectic
3.0 out of 5 stars Meandering memoirs with the undertone of a martyr
The book admirably tackles a very complex set of relationships in a unique situation. I found myself drawn into the dilemmas and apparently impossible challenges of traditional... Read more
Published 3 days ago by D Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend
Published 3 days ago by Irene Messenger
5.0 out of 5 stars A heroine revealed
Jane Hawking has written about one of my favourite personalities, former husband Stephen Hawking. If he is the hero of his own life, she certainly is the heroine behind his... Read more
Published 3 days ago by DJW
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!
Saw the film and just had to get the book. I haven't quite finished it yet but I just can't put it down. It is so well written with amazing detail.
Published 3 days ago by Mrs E E Jones
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