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Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Hardcover – 27 Apr 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 287 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Alma Books Ltd; Revised edition edition (27 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846880343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846880346
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,150,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this fascinating book, Jane Hawking gives an account of her marriage to Stephen Hawking-one of the most famous and esteemed scientists of this age. Far from the glamour that one would associate with a world-famous scientist’s life, the world that Jane Hawking describes is one of toil, frustration, unhappiness and loneliness-a Paradise that seemingly never was.

Stephen and Jane Hawking met in 1963. She was finishing school, and he was in Cambridge. Jane was smitten by the young boffin with a dimpled smile and an unruly shock of blonde hair. Despite his deteriorating physical condition, (Stephen Hawking suffered from Motor Neurone disease) she married him in 1965. The early years of marriage were the halcyon days of Stephen Hawking’s meteoric success with prizes won and invitations to lecture around the world. He was ‘gaining a reputation for himself as a prodigy in his field.’ His work brought not only fame but much-needed income. But, at least in the early years, this did not obviate the family’s needs for grants for the disabled.

However, this was accompanied by a deterioration of his health. Added to this were the rigours of a growing family. Though the joy brought by the birth of their children was intoxicating, the pressure and even torment of taking care of the children’s needs and looking after a wheel-chair bound husband took its toll on Jane. Her daily routine was exacting: the shopping and the washing had to be done, the house cleaned, meals prepared and the children and Stephen looked after almost single-handedly.

A shopping errand with a baby on her back while pushing Stephen in his wheelchair was a nightmare. Her husband’s disability meant ‘there was nothing of a practical nature that he could do’.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting book. Makes you realise how much has been missed from the film. Really enjoyed the film but the book is so much better because of the details included
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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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By Liz Barnsley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
**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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jane Wilde was introduced to Stephen Hawking in 1963 in their home town of St Albans, although she had come into contact with him years earlier in the 1950s when Stephen, a boy with floppy, golden-brown hair, attended Jane's school, St Albans High, for a very brief time. Jane spotted Stephen again when she was out walking with friends in 1962 when "There lolloping along...was a young man with an awkward gait, his head down, his face shielded from the world under an unruly mass of straight brown hair…immersed in his own thoughts." Jane met Stephen properly on January 1st 1963, when they were both at a party and where she saw him talking to an Oxford friend about his research in cosmology at Cambridge (Stephen had gained a First Class degree at Oxford but was doing his PhD at Cambridge). Listening to Stephen chatting, Jane was drawn to his unusual character, his sense of humour and his independent personality and she was keen to become better acquainted with him. When two years later the two of them married, Jane already knew that Stephen was seriously ill with motor neurone disease and most probably only had a couple of years left to live, and although Stephen's mother tried to warn Jane about the horrific developments that could be expected to occur as his condition degenerated, Jane replied that she would prefer not to know the details of the prognosis because she loved Stephen so much that nothing could deter her from marrying him: "I would make a home for him, dismissing all my own previous ambitions which now were insignificant by comparison.Read more ›
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