Madame Curie: A Biography by Ève Curie

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
 This book is the best biography of Marie Curie, narrated by her own daughter, with lots of letters exchanged. And the fact that Eve Curie was a writer made this book a memorable reading indeed. Not only it portrayed the life of a genius scientist, but also a love story between her and her husband. And a story of a single mother.
Born Marya Skłodowska in Tsarist Poland, her life had always been difficult. She lost her mother and a sister since she was very young. The family of 4, father, her older sister, herself and her brother tried to keep life above poverty. At age 17, Marie had to work as a governess, started saving for her dream education and split the rest to help her older sister who was to pursue the Sorbonne.
When Marie got accepted to the Sorbonne, she took 3 days train ride to Paris. Lived alone in a tiny room, no heater, not enough money to buy food, she kept studying in that frozen room. To me, Marie Curie wasn’t born a genius, but being naturally curious, love of study, have a deep passion for physics and consistency of grit in the face of adversity actually made whom she became. All day long she would study, buried herself in Physics, slept very little, and starved. She wrote to her brother:
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
Because this book contained mostly the letters, it really illustrated the true grit from Marie’s own words. And also revealed her personality–a vulnerable person.
“My life is upset in such a way that it will never be put right again. I think it will always be like this, and I shall not try to live otherwise”
Mindfulness living, a letter to her two daughters:
“My dear children, I send you my best wishes for a happy New Year–that is to say, a year of good health, good humor, and good work, a year in which you will have pleasure in living every day, without waiting for days to be gone before finding charm in them, and without putting all hope of pleasure in the days to come”
This is only the tiny part from this book and I felt so lucky to have read it. It is emotional reading and enormously inspiring. I can see myself rereading it again. The first reading of my 2019 reading goal, My Year of Reading the Women Pioneers, was already phenomenal, I can not wait to start my second one 🙂
Hope you’ll find the opportunity to read Madame Curie. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

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