Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life After Genius-M. Ann Jacoby

Life After Genius
M. Ann Jacoby
Grand Central, Oct 29 2008, $24.99
ISBN: 0446199710

Theodore Mead Fegley grew up in High Grove, Illinois under the thumb of a martinet mom and an indifferent dad who was too busy running a funeral parlor and furniture store. Being a genius, Mead faced bullies and unfair physical comparisons to his older athletically gifted cousin as if brawn supersedes brain every time although Perry is his only friend. At fifteen he accepts a scholarship to attend Chicago University on a three year track.

At school, he focuses on solving Riemann Hypothesis while flourishing under the mentoring of Dr. Alexander. However, as he succeeds at math, he fails at personal relationships. Now on the verge of graduating at eighteen, Mead must give his presentation even as his long time college rival and enemy math major Herman Weinstein tries to destroy his research; instead feeling emotionally deceased he flees for home.

Though the key characters seem to come out of typecasting 101 boy genius, contemporary readers will enjoy this well written character study that looks at the down side of being the brain. Mead is an interesting protagonist whose intelligence without an emotional anchor leads to his shutting down his brain. Readers will appreciate his struggles to belong as LIFE AFTER GENIUS can prove disconcerting.

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