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A Mind of Her Own

Written by: Paula McLain
Narrated by: Hillary Huber
Length: 1 hr and 15 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Paula McLain, the best-selling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin, comes a breathtakingly intimate story of the brilliant, willful Marie Curie - a young woman in Paris on the verge of her greatest discovery yet: herself.

Paris, 1893. Twenty-five-year-old Marie Sklodowska is studying science at the Sorbonne - one of the only universities in the world that has begun to admit women. A thousand miles from her native Poland, with no money and the odds stacked against any woman daring to pursue a career in such a rigorous field, Marie throws herself into her studies. She's certain that to succeed in a man's world, she will have to go it alone. 

Her meticulous plans get thrown slightly off-course when Marie attracts the attention of an accomplished young physicist, himself on the precipice of greatness. Thirty-five-year-old Pierre Curie, famous for his work on symmetry, believes he has found in Marie an equal who shares his devotion to scientific discovery. He offers to help with her work, and soon begins to court her. But to Marie, men have always been an obstacle, love a distraction from her goals. She hasn't come this far to let either stand in the way of her dreams - dreams Pierre insists they can share. 

In A Mind of Her Own, McLain taps into the luminous mind and complex heart of a singular woman caught between order and chaos, science and love in the period just before the world would learn her name. 

©2019 Paula McLain (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What members say

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Not worth a credit

This is the second time I have been dispointed with an audible orginal audio book. Short book with little plot or substance and really did not capture or add much insight into Marie Currie.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A brief introduction

Conveyed some interesting information about Marie Curie, but left me wanting to find a better biography about her life. For such a short work about such an amazing woman, I wish less time had been devoted to her inner dialogue basically saying “I don’t need no man”.
A quick listen, that basically reduces to a teaser of a Marie Curie biography, with the bulk of the focus (the love-story narrative) as my least favourite part.

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Too Short

McLain paints beautiful word pictures. A great introduction and so disappointed it ended. Huber is excellent.

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  • Kingsley
  • 2019-03-01

Based on a true story

'A Mind of Her Own' is a first person dramatisation of the early life of Marie Curie, chemist, physicist and pioneer on the study radiation. Curie (at this point being Maria Salomea Skłodowska as she had not yet married Pierre Curie) is young female scientist, studying in Paris, at a time when females doing science was looked down on. Females were not given any independence in the late 19th century Paris, so her undertaking studies was often looked down on by those males around her. through her own skill and determination, and with the help of some teachers and colleagues who could look beyond her gender, she was able to make incredible strides in science and eventually win the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics (with her husband) and the 1911 Nobel prize in chemistry (in her own right).

The story a romance story as well as a biopic of an impressive scientific mind. It does focus on her studies and the hardships, especially those faced due to her being a female, but the story is strongly linked to the story of Pierre Curie and their burgeoning romance. That is really what the book is about. Much of the internal dialogue is Marie feeling she will lose that love of science, or have to play second fiddle to Pierre, if she falls for him. The story is about reconciling those things.

Much like biopic movies there is liberty taken with the story, for the sake of drama and keeping it moving. As it is told in a first person point of view we get reactions and thoughts when we may not actually know what she was thinking (although maybe she wrote copious diaries and we do know). Without knowing her history beyond the basics it's hard to know if the other students are real people and events, or just archetypes to show the sort of reaction and hardship she endured. Are the events and thoughts between Marie and Pierre based on fact or just creations by the author to create drama. Really it doesn't matter, as you do learn about the time, the relationship and her pursuit of science.

I honestly felt it a bit short, although very good. Where it ends is a reasonable place to end, as it is a turning point in her life. But if you don't know about her future after it ends, the work she did, and the recognition she got for it (and not just for her work with Pierre) then it leaves it off in a strange place that feels unresolved. Basically the big impact of the decision is left off the story, and only there for those who know more about Marie Curies life.

Hillary Huber does great narration. He is engaging and enjoyable to listen to. she provides voices for all the characters, including various accents - French, Polish etc. I do find it a little strange that all the characters are given accents except for the French-Polish Marie Curie herself, who speaks and thinks in an American accent. It might give the impression to some that she is an American in Europe, not a European herself.

The audio is straight forward, beyond Huber's great narration. No sound effects, no music. Just clean, clear, enjoyable performance.

[If you enjoy this review please check out my other reviews. I review a lot of small press and indie books - support the small guys and you may find something new you will love]

298 of 317 people found this review helpful

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  • Gerad
  • 2019-03-03

Love story, not science story

I guess I expected to learn more about Curies science but instead was told a love story with very little science or discovery. Disappointed

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Gwen Eberle
  • 2019-02-28

Loved this short audiobook!

I loved this short audiobook about the life of young Marie Curie in Paris. Great writing and story. It’s interesting to get a glimpse into history as well and a sense of what life was like for a brilliant woman living in a man’s world in the late 1800s. Narration was amazing.

79 of 88 people found this review helpful

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  • Joel Guadarrama
  • 2019-03-02

too short

a lovely story about Madame Currie and the time she spent at school and her meeting of her husband Pierre Currie unfortunately its a tad too short and doesn't do well in any genre as it doesn't tell much about her life and her lifes work nor does it delve into her relationships or lack there of. nor does it jump into her romantic life either.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Kanerva Tuominen
  • 2019-03-14

An utter disappointment

I expected to learn something about Marie Curie and her life in the world of science. Instead I got a first-person account of her love life. Come on! That's the least interesting thing about one of the most brilliant minds in the history of science.

107 of 121 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellipooh
  • 2019-03-22

Worth what I paid ($0)

Completely uninteresting, never engaged. I guess I was hoping for a short, inspirational biography. What I got was some kind of YA romance. The story was about her early relationship with him, and not at all about her accomplishments. Bleh.

63 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy Hammond Hagberg
  • 2019-03-01

Fascinating!

It was so great I wanted much more! If only it were a full length audiobook. Bravo!

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • John W. Aldis, MD
  • 2019-03-24

This great scientist deserved better.

I was unaware what I was getting when I ordered this book. The narrator has this "girly" delivery which tries to project Marie Curie as a dedicated and focused scientist as well as a lovely young lady falling in love with a fellow scientist.
It doesn't work.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Wyoming Bas Bleu
  • 2019-03-05

Interesting

Though I enjoyed this story mostly for the historical value Marie Currie played in our scientific outcomes I found the novel reaching too far in its fictional story of the romance between Madame Currie and her husband. The story narration was good.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Delarche
  • 2019-03-03

Not a biography

I misread the description... I thought this was going to be a biography of Marie Curie and her work, but it's actually a period romance. At least it was voice acted pretty well

21 of 24 people found this review helpful