Imagine wanting to learn to write and your palm and finger your only “paper and pen”… Inimaginable, right?
From the gaps and holes in history of women mentioned in archives, the author built the story of Helena, a maid in Netherlands, who knew René Descartes for more than a decade. Some say this is the story of Helena’s strugle to learn. For me, it was equally the story of Descartes’s strugle to learn. It was the time before his first publication, which is considerate to date as the basis of modern science and which required numerous explorations from him.
It is also the story of a woman’s aspiration to be independent and free from social expectations and bounds.
It is the story of a loving mother, who passed on to her daughter the love of letters and thirst of knowledge. It is the story of a mother’s grief for her child and her rebirth as a mother through the birth of her second child.
It is the story of a children book writer and her belief that all children – boys and girls – need to learn to write and read.
It is the story of female sisterhood and friendship.
It is a story of love, as impossible as it seemed in that century.
And, it is beatifully narrated.