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Summary

In this compelling memoir, Jane Hawking relates the inside story of her extraordinary marriage. As Stephen's academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane's candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family is inspirational. This is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with listeners everywhere.

©1999 Jane Hawking (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Jane writes about her former husband with tenderness, respect and protectiveness." ( Sunday Express)
"A great read." ( Daily Mail)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshingly honest

At times hard to listen to Jane Hawkings is at all times, refreshingly honest. This is a no-holes barred and revealing telling of a complex relationship. Awe inducing, not only for the life lived but for the skilful story telling.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Honestly shared

A fabulous mix of personal insight and love of literature music and travel that was a delight to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fair balanced account of two sides

The Genius and The Saint
Behind every great man never a truer word ! A story of personal growth of both.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • A
  • 16-02-15

Truly inspiring!

So honest, a wonderful listen of a truly remarkable family and woman who committed herself to the ones she loved.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

An insight into the fascinating lives of the Hawkings. An enjoyable but sad read, a genius hit by tragedy affecting all around him

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

Loved it immensely and would highly recommend! Very suitable title for book clubs as it has something for everyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bus
  • UK
  • 22-03-15

A fascinating account of the Hawking family

Would you listen to Travelling to Infinity again? Why?

I generally don't read books twice because there are so many more that I have not read once, but I would read more books by the same author or on the same subject

What about Sandra Duncan’s performance did you like?

Good pace and clarity

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did not want to put it down, but it is a very long audio book and requires several sittings.

Any additional comments?

I have an interest in Physics and have long been a fan of Stephen Hawking. This books details another side of the story - a wife and family that struggle with living with not only a strong willed and celebrated genius but also a very disabled person during a period when there was little medical or financial support or even disabled access to public buildings. The trails and tribulations, personal sacrifices and fight for space to allow for personal achievement that ensure and the complex relationships that are formed make a for a fascinating book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

Wonderful, highly recommended. I must say I never knew about Jane or the rest of Stephen's family, but the story was enchanting and I couldn't help but find myself sat in my car long after if reached my destination just wanting to hear that little bit more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Behind every great man is a great woman

Keep going with the story, the mood lifts and soars. Jane is a steadfast woman with an abundance of love. Her weaknesses make her human and language make the story a must read text. Depressing at times but a story of humility and profound kindness. Jane is an example citizen and the kind of woman you'd like to have as a friend.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A rare instance when the film is actually way better!

I bought the book as I was inspired to learn more about the extraordinary life of Stephen Hawking after seeing the film.

Unfortunately, I found it interminably dull and couldn't finish it. Jane Hawking's writing is incredibly self-indulgent and pompous. She writes at length about theories, ideas and research findings, often digressing and losing her train of thought. Events in her personal life are related with a lack of emotion and a matter-of-factness that I disliked and it was hard to feel the empathy and connection that was so much a part of the film experience.

I just reached a point about half way through when I couldn't listen anymore. A huge shame, but also testament to the scriptwriter who managed to do wonders with a dry, boring and lacklustre book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 11-03-15

Perplexing & Puzzling

I am having difficulty understanding why an intelligent woman would marry a man with whom she had so little in common. For example, Jane's favorite activity was ballroom and folk dancing but Stephen did not like to dance and really could not participate. She loved attending the ballet, travel to Spain, studying Spanish all of which he hated. Stephen ridiculed Jane for her choices in music, favorite composers, career and educational focus. Jane was religious and Stephen a devout atheist. The list of their incompatibility goes on. Isn't finding out if a couple has shared interests before they marry what dating is all about? I am perplexed at the general level of surprise that people have on hearing that the marriage failed.

What's more--there is a strong thread of anger running between the lines of this sad story. To me it is an unhappy look back at a failed marriage from one point of view, Jane's. She uses this book as a vehicle to name names and say what she really thought about people and events from the past. For me this focus was overly negative and the book very long. The narration captures this anger and occasionally even shows a hint of Jane's rage.

I have not seen the movie but from what I have read and the previews it seems to be totally different from the book. A Hollywood spin of gigantic proportions. I suggest a long ponder before venturing out into this memoir.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • RW
  • 21-01-15

Loved the Movie

I loved the movie and wanted to learn more about the amazing Jane Hawking through her book. Jane describes herself as one that has a great sense of humor. Unfortunately the unwaveringly somber tone of the narrator never allows the humor or lightheartedness of the author to come through for me. In spite of this, the story is a beautiful story of love, commitment, determination, and eternal optimism. Listen carefully to the words instead of the delivery and you will enjoy the book and respect this woman's strength of character!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa Brockman
  • 23-03-18

Snooze!

The author prattles on and on and on about inane topics. This is one of the worst audiobooks I’ve ever heard. 10% of the book is about life with Stephen Hawking. 20% is about the author’s interest in literature. 20% is about physics and the other 50% is just strait incessant prattling about nothing. Don’t waste your money. I’m going to request a refund for this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lori
  • 24-10-17

Too detailed and slow moving

Too many mundane details are included in this book. 200 pages could have been edited out and it probably would have been really interesting. Really hard to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • My 50 cents
  • 03-05-15

Not exactly what I expected. interesting though,.

Book is one~sided pperspective. Seems like the movie is done differently to gain a wilder audience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucinda Htman
  • 07-04-15

Far better than the movie!

Extremely well written. I can't imagine a better narrator. I am glad seeing the movie motivated me to read the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pita
  • 28-02-15

Reality is always more complicated than fiction

Would you listen to Traveling to Infinity again? Why?

This is the long and very detailed story of two very special human beings and a very complex marriage. I bought the book after watching the recent movie based on it. Although I liked the movie a lot, the book and the story it tells is far more interesting. This book is very "rich" and although I enjoyed it, it will be some time before I am ready for the experience again.

What did you like best about this story?

Jane Hawkings manages to tell the story of her marriage to a genius who also suffers from a chronic debilitating disease without pathos. She does not feel sorry for herself (even though Steven left her after she sacrificed a great deal for him) or for Hawking, for that matter. She comes across as a smart, strong lady. The picture she paints of Steven is that of a special person who has not been immune to the deleterious effects that fame and fortune can sometimes have. In other words, geniuses are human.

Have you listened to any of Sandra Duncan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narration was unremarkable. This was probably what was required given the nature of the story.

Any additional comments?

This is a well written memoir about very interesting people. It never bores and like most "lives" it teaches a lesson or two. It is a good listen.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sherry McNee
  • 21-03-15

A look into the diary of Mrs Stephan hawking

Profoundly personal story of the early family life and career of the famous professor Hawking and its toll on his wife and children

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pegaz
  • 01-03-15

I love Jane Hawking!

Jane tells the story of women. Behind the man genius ego of Stephen Hawking, she put her own talent and intelligence on the back burner for the man she loved. Her divorce was a blessing and the best thing Stephen did for her. Through pain comes a rebirth.

Her caring for her family and loved ones is palpable.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Refling
  • 27-01-15

Interesting and Compelling Story!

Met my expectations and then some. The narration was very good.
A memorable story.

Review is complete .
Nothing more to add.












6 of 13 people found this review helpful