Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review: Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby

About the Book: Theodore Mead Fegley has always been the smartest person he knows. By age 12, he was in high school, and by 15 he was attending a top-ranking university. And now, at the tender age of 18, he's on the verge of proving the Riemann Hypothesis, a mathematical equation that has mystified academics for almost 150 years. But only days before graduation, Mead suddenly packs his bags and flees home to rural Illinois. What has caused him to flee remains a mystery to all but Mead and a classmate whose quest for success has turned into a dangerous obession.

At home, Mead finds little solace. His past ghosts haunt him; his parents don't understand the agony his genius has caused him, nor his desire to be a normal kid, and his dreams seem crushed forever. He embarks on a new life's journey -- learning the family business of selling furniture and embalming the dead--that disappoints and surprises all who knew him as "the young Fegley genius."

Equal parts academic thriller and poignant coming-of-age story, LIFE AFTER GENIUS follows the remarkable journey of a young man who must discover that the heart may know what the head hasn't yet learned.

My Review: What an engrossing book! I really enjoyed reading the story of Mead. Jacoby tells us his story in a fragmented timeline so that with each chapter we learn a few more details of how Mead got to the place he is in at the beginning of the story.

Mead is a math genius so on that level I could not relate to him at all! But the feeling of being on the outside I certainly can. There were moments that were touching and poignant and then even humorous elements to the story as well, which kept it something I wanted to keep reading. Mead was totally obsessed with the math project he was working on and his life seemed to be passing him by.

There were quite a few interesting characters in the book, including Mead's father who was rather fascinating to me.

The "friendship" between Mead and Herman Weinstein was also an interesting development and a little sad when Mead considered him a best friend.

Not the most uplifting book nor the most satisfying ending, but still a very good read.

You can buy your copy here.


Ali said...

I can't relate to being a math genius either, LOL. Looks like an interesting book, though, I'd like to read it one day.

Anonymous said...

I wanted some loose ends wrapped up at the end, too, but I still thought it was a good read.

Serena said...

I really enjoyed this book, but I was unsatisfied by the ending as well.

Anna said...

I agree that it was a good book, but then ending was frustrating for me. I also agree that it was difficult to related to Mead, other than feeling like an outsider. Boy, do I remember what that was like in high school!

Diary of an Eccentric

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