Notes on “Travelling to Infinity” by Jane Hawking

This is a grumpy one, so if you’re not in the mood for some negativity, just skip it!

I’m not going to write out all my notes here this time. I’m only going to go over a couple of the things that stood out to me most.

Here’s the biggest one. I don’t understand why she would be so shocked that people didn’t realize the extent of Stephen Hawking’s illness and what it meant for their family. I would think that she would have known going into the relationship that she would be caring for someone that eventually would not be able to care for himself at all. He cannot move, speak, eat, or anything without help. It bothers me, as a mother that she would have three children with him knowing that he would not be able to help with the care of those children and then be angry that she did not have help. I find it strange that she would think the State should be responsible for caring for her husband even though, apparently, he was capable of going through school, procuring a position at a university, getting married, and making babies. In my world view, you are ultimately responsible for yourself and your own family. If it had just been him and he couldn’t care for himself or find work to make money to buy that care, then I would see the State having some responsibility to offer help.

I also was irritated by her constant drumming on the drudgery and “mind-numbing” work of wife and mother. If she so longed for being a university student and writing intellectual papers, why did she date and marry a man that she knew she would be caring for full-time in a few years? And why would you have three children if being a mother was just such a boring job? I’m lost by her reasoning. The diagnosis for him was that he would only live a couple years. Was she counting on him dying and then he didn’t? Babies don’t come by accident. You knew you were having sex with him…more than once.

The whole book seems to go on about how difficult her life was with him, and I’d agree it probably was, very much so! But he wasn’t a kind, sweet, loving person when she met him. He was already self-absorbed and full of his own importance the day they met. And then she knew he was diagnosed with a debilitating disease when they met. She married him anyway, knowing this and that his goals were to be a university professor which pays very little. Then they had kids, three times. So…why am I supposed to feel for her?

Change things. Stop letting things happen to you and then complaining how terrible everyone is to you. Stop blaming the world around you for the choices you make. Sheesh! Sorry. I’m in a mood and I really didn’t like the book. Wait. I did like reading it, but I felt like she just complained the whole time as if everything just happened to her and she had nothing to do with any of it.