Monday, October 20, 2014

From Left to Write: The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec

So I know I'm super duper late with this post, but I finally feel up to writing it! And I have at least two more blog posts in my head I need to find time to do after this... I still haven't finished the book, but I feel like I've read enough to post about it.

The Goddess of Small Victories is about Kurt Gödel, a famous mathematical logician and philosopher, as seen through the eyes of his wife Adele. The story starts in 1980 with Adele in a nursing home, reluctantly opening up to Anna who was sent to befriend her by some historians who want access to her husband's archives. From then on every other chapter is told from Anna's perspective, and the others from Adele's point of view as she meets and falls in love with Kurt in the 1930's.

One thing that is mentioned often enough is that Kurt and Adele have no live children, Adele having miscarried their only child not long after they were married. This obviously struck a chord with me as I can see myself in a similar position. I doubt one day historians will be as interested in the life of my husband (not that I think he's boring or anything) but it's very possible we could remain childless throughout our lives. It's something that hurts to think about, especially this time of year.

I have a few friends who are childfree by choice. When people find out they don't want children they get questions like: "But who will take care of you when you're old?" I know for them it can be as annoying as people asking infertiles why they don't just adopt! Even if you have live children, there is no guarantee they will look after you in your old age. Even if they pay for your care they might not visit often. Without kids there are still options, like nieces and nephews, godchildren, family friends, but it is still something that I think about.

Wanting children for me isn't just about having a cute baby to dress up and cuddle. It is about a lifetime of interactions. Being with them in their first moments of life until the last moments of mine. A childless life isn't inherently worse or better than one with children, it just depends on your personal wants and desires. Adele doesn't seem to mourn the absence of children the way I would. I can't even comprehend how much I would lose out on by not having children in one way or another. Reading about someone without children at the end of her life reminds me that this dream is still worth fighting for.

This post was inspired by The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec, a novel about brilliant mathematician Kurt Gödel as told from his ex-cabaret dancer wife’s perspective. Join From Left to Write on October 16th as we discuss The Goddess of Small Victories. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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