Published: 2009 by University of Queensland Press
Format: Paperback, 199 pages
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Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Catherine is a science-loving fifteen-year-old. Richard helped build the atom bomb. Catherine's just trying to survive school.
When your life is falling apart around you, is talking to a dead physicist normal?
Catherine thinks so, but it isn't until her life begins unravelling that she learns who she can really trust.
Loving Richard Feynman is one of the cutest books I’ve ever read! It perfectly combines my love of all things nerdy with a sweet coming-of-age story of a socially awkward girl and her friends.
Catherine has decided to keep a diary of sorts of her days, but she’s going to write them as letters to Dr. Richard Feynman, but he’s one feyn dude (oh haha, I’m too funny!). She childishly idolises him because he’s smart, good-looking, and (her dad tells her) unconventional. (For those who are unfamiliar, Dr. Feynman is a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, associated with the Manhattan Project. He had a pretty interesting personal life as well …)
Catherine is a cool protagonist. She’s comfortable with her love of maths and science, and doesn’t have aspirations to fit in with the ‘cool’ kids. However, she can be quite judgemental, and obviously no one’s ever told her that other ways to be smart that don’t have anything to do with maths or science exist. But we must remember she’s quite young (at fifteen), and still growing into herself.
Catherine’s life gets turned upside down when her parents start having marital problems, a plight I really empathised with because I was fifteen my folks split up as well. At one point Catherine remarks that once your parents have been together so long, you kind of just assume they’re going to be together always, which resonated with me because I’d also felt that way. Her school life isn’t that great either – her social group is changing and Catherine’s been picked to be part of a team to represent the school in a Maths competition. To make matters worse, there’s a new boy in school named Felix who infuriates her.
I don’t know many books that don’t focus on romance and are so heavily character driven, so I absolutely loved this book. I think it will have a special place in every reader’s heart, especially those who enjoy Australian stories. I’m going to look into Tangey’s other books in the future!Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.