Minda’s drunk review of The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
What I Drank Prior: We did a cocktail class tonight with a group of friends and so we each made three cocktails—one gin, one rhum, and one bourbon. Then I had a self-made (read: poorly made, but strong) margarita, and a few beers.
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 Summary: Serbian mathmetitian and physicist Mileva has everything she ever dreamed when she pursues her higher degree at a Swiss university as the first woman to do so. Until she meets Albert Einstein that is. Albert matches her in a way she never thought possible, but will his love distract her from her original passion?
Spoiler-Free Thoughts: Did you know that Albert Einstein had a wife that was also a physicist? Well I sure as f*ck didn’t. So I thought the story would be super cute and romantic and I was… not right. I still enjoyed the book, but it really wasn’t what I expected. Though I appreciate histories from female perspective. I think this one could have used some editing.
What I Loved: How the female relationships shaped Mileva’s life when she first arrived in Zürich. They were so adorable together. Would have loved to explore more of this dynamic—felt like it sorta just dropped off.
What I Liked: The story progressed a little fast for me, but I still feel like the *got* Mileva’s motivations and why she was who she was. Her background was clear from the start and you could feel her passion the whole time. And you knew why she relied and depended on Albert the way she did, even if she could have (should have) been a badass in her own right.
What I Didn’t Like: I guess I should have expected since the background is readily available, but this book certainly took a dark turn. It was not a good look for Albert Einstein. Not a huge problem, but there might not have been enough info to make some of the leaps here.
What I Hated: There’s nothing I really hated per se, I did t love the ‘time is relative’ breakthrough. It felt too sudden and out of the blue for me.
I seresly did not know the actual story here, but I feel like the author takes it a little far for what is known? We didn’t need Albert to be like an abuser for this to work. It’s just a fact that things were the way they were at the time and to take advantage of her in that context without actual physical violence.
TL;DR: I like historical fiction from unlikely perspectives and this one worked for me, but wouldn’t say it is a must-read.
Drink Pairing: A nice lager—not too deep but enjoyable.
Rating: 3/5 shots