Stephen Hawking was a complicated man. Selfish, self-centered, intelligent, willing to work with others, wanted self-credit, chose romantic partners that seemed distant, and believed his own press as he made up most of it. You never know what will happen next in the pages of this graphic novel by Jim Ottaviani. Aptly named, Hawking¸ Ottaviani starts the story (told from the point of view of Hawking himself) from about age elven to around the eve of his death.
Ottaviani makes it so you think you’ve finally figured it out, the kind of person he is/was and then his character, Hawking, tosses a monkey and a banana into the mix. The ideas he and his colleagues created/studied are included, but I skimmed/skipped over a lot of that as A) I have no interest in the science (I am the reader his publishers were afraid of) and B) It is terribly detailed and to someone not familiar with the terms it can bog the reading down. And finally, C) If I heard the term “marriage” of “two concepts” one more time I was going to toss the book!
How much of Hawking’s genius is that he was a genius and how much was his fame? How much of Hawking would have translated into “today” if he had not been born in the early years of his field? How much of this book, told from the POV of Hawking, is fiction and how much is fact? Can we trust a narrator that was as “internalized” as he was, especially coming from an author who obviously is a fan/respects Hawking? A thoughtful and thought-provoking biography flowing as a novel. With simple, but not simplistic illustrations, by Leland Myrick, this book is for teens to adult.