“We also need dreamers, for whom the unselfish following of a purpose is so imperative” -Marie Curie
Marie Curie: A Quest for Light
Frances Andreasen Østerfelt
Anja Cetti Andersen (@DustAnja)
Review by Chris Ceary
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Noble Prize and remains part of the still select group of women to win the prize for a science field. Marie Curie: A Quest for Light explores the life of this incredible woman from childhood to her lasting legacy without shying away from the dark and tragic elements in her story. Unique art accompanies the history of Curie’s life interspersed with quotes from her own writing to create this graphic novel biography.
If you are a woman—or in my case, femme presenting person—in a STEM field of any kind, you have probably heard quite a bit about Marie Curie. You may have even been compared to her regardless of which branch of STEM you live in. Her legacy looms large, but there is more to her story than the simple facts presented in textbooks. Marie Curie: A Quest for Light accomplishes much with few words, bringing surprising depth to Curie’s story with only sparse text on each page. The graphic novel is more pure biography than narrative. The tone can at times be distant, but the addition of Curie’s own words brings her closer to the reader.
It is the art by Anna Blasczcwyk that transforms and elevates this graphic biography. The style resembles a collage with a dark academia twist that is reminiscent of The Series of Unfortunate Events. Every page could be an art piece to display on a wall. It adds layers of emotion to the facts spelled out in the words and more than once, the art alone brought tears to my eyes. For example, there are specific images of the violence enacted against Polish people that will haunt readers long after the book is closed. The art is wielded with devastating effect.
The graphic biography does not shy away from the tragedies and pain in Curie’s life. The stories of the gatekeeping she experienced from the science community, the way her relationships were used to justify discrimination against her, and the continual struggle to be acknowledged for her work are reminders of how hard women have fought for even a fraction of recognition in STEM fields. There is a reason she remains one of the few women to have Noble prize for science even today. We need to continue telling her story so the progress she made for women in the field can continue. We need to remember her, and Marie Curie: A Quest for Light is a powerful way to keep her story alive.
BUY. This graphic novel is a short read that packs a powerful punch with artwork that is unforgettable. Whether you are familiar with her story or not, this will be a meaningful experience. It is excellent for adults or younger readers who can handle some dark content. Maybe even get it as a gift for people of every gender (and not just for women in STEM).