... stark, bewitching ... The merciless seesaw of [Seager's] grief makes for harrowing reading ... The second half of her story gleams with insights into what it means to lose a partner in midlife, and just as the widows helped Seager feel less alone, her story is sure to help any readers grappling with a similar loss ... Seager’s [prose] is rawer and starker, full of blues and blacks, written in the ink of grief, suffering, healing and — ultimately — clarity. In Seager’s hands you’re as apt to learn about 'a special body bag that’s designed to slide down stairs' as about storm-wracked rogue exoplanets where it rains molten iron ... beautifully dramatize[s] the emotional precarity of having one’s career pinned to the fate of space hardware ... address[es] the challenges of being female physical scientists in a male-dominated field, and convey[s] the struggle of operating in the vast scales of the universe at work, then commuting home to operate in the humbler scales of the domestic sphere ... [Seager] exemplifies the humanity of science.
This engaging memoir seamlessly weaves together three narratives ... It doesn’t matter whether the text is describing a particularly painful social interaction or explaining the mechanics behind a billion-dollar proposal; Seager’s writing is unfailingly accessible and compelling. Sometimes the chapters alternate between biographical and scientific developments, other times events are intertwined, but again, readers will remain fully engaged throughout. They’ll appreciate Seager’s honesty and empathize with her as she describes the agony of watching her husband being consumed by cancer, vents frustration over professional setbacks and snubs, or shares her hard-won victories. This is technical writing at its best, shared by a thoroughly companionable and relatable scientist, writer, and woman. Readers will cheer for the happy ending.
This thoughtful and affecting memoir of navigating life after loss reads like a comforting novel, inspiring others to follow their dreams and never give up on the possibilities of discovery and self-reflection. Readers seeking women’s biographies and studies in planetary science will relish this heartfelt story.