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Life After Genius
M. Ann Jacoby
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Life After Genius

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  389 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Theodore Mead Fegley, an eighteen-year-old math prodigy, flees his brilliant academic career days before graduation and returns home to rural Illinois. Beginning a new life journey, he discovers the heart may know what the head has yet to learn.
Published September 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published October 11th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this is one of the rare occasions when i wish i could call the author and vent my frustration about devoting hours of my life to their craft only to be shoved down a literary trap door. i am flat out annoyed by how ridiculous this story became. ridiculous and lazy and negligent.

when you meet the main character mead, you are at first tempted to not go on his journey because you're sure you've heard it all before. ten year old boy, wildly smart and ostracized by his peers, somewhere-ville small to
Jennifer Defoy
This was a weird one for me. I liked the story, even though it was a bit odd, but I didn't really connect with the main character. But the mystery of why Mead came home was pretty engaging. I just wanted to know why. The story jumps around through different times in Mead's life. It got to be a bit confusing at times, as Mead also seems to be having a bit of a nervous breakdown throughout the story. But the jumping around really adds to the mystery of what happened and if Mead really is starting ...more
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who ever thought being a genius was easy
Mead Fegley is a genious and goes to college at a young age to study mathematics where he has a real aptitude, but his journey to college is waylaid and he rushes home a few days prior to his presentation of an important paper on a noted mathemician's theorem. Jacoby's tale is split into three separate time lines, which are her way of showing how Mead turned out the way he has, what happened in college and why he left. This non sequential story worked for me although I could see how it would not ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mead Fegley is a solitary 15-year-old prodigy who flees his oppressive, well-meaning family for the wilds of a prestigious university in Chicago.

I find the book intriguing and a wonder to read, thought provoking and conversational. With the structure of the suspense with Mead without reason stopping home, despite the fact that what he chooses to do after he returns home was never revealed, Jacoby provides readers with the urge to read page after page to find out what goes on next. For some that
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Myfanwy, Sarah
Totally great, almost surreal story about a boy genius who loses it six days before he is supposed to graduate from college (at age 18). I'm totally fascinated by extraordinary minds and this book really captures the anguish that can go along with being just a little bit different.

It's an adult book, but I think it would appeal to fans of YA as well.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book this truly was. Oops, time to switch to the non-Yoda dialect.

Anyway, I should say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very interesting and captivating that I blasted through it in just a couple of days.

So, this is a book that revolves around Theodore Mead Fegley, who is a math genius, genius enough to skip several grades in elementary, middle, and high school, and enters college at 15, and finishing his undergraduate in less than three years. Almost, since the book begins wh
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What could drive a brilliant young man to leave college eight days before graduation, without his degree, and return to his hometown to work in the family Mortuary business?

Being a genius is a difficult thing. For Theodore Mead Fegley, it has brought him nothing but grief. He started high school at the age of twelve, finished in three years, and started college at the age of fifteen. He has always been younger and smaller than everyone else. And, of course, the victim of taunts, ridicule and pr
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby is a book that examines one young genius' struggle to find himself and his place in his own family and society.

Theodore Mead Fegley's father runs a furniture store and funeral home with his brother Martin, while his mother's main goal in life is to push her son to achieve as much as possible and not squander his intelligence. The pressure mounts for Mead as he speeds through his elementary and high school years, reaching the University of Chicago at age 15.

Nov 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I lied a little bit. I haven't actually finished reading this book, but at page 110 I have grown so tired of it that I thought I'd read the reviews here to see how it all plays out. Unfortunately, no spoiler alerts, so I might never learn what the mystery is and if Meade ever gets his young life together. I couldn't help thinking that the author was trying desperately to write Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century. The writing is so self-conscious, contrived and clichéd, and I just hated to se ...more
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in a day. Couldn't put it down. Loved every second of it. At least, until I got to the last page, realized it was over and now I'm dealing with emotional trauma dealt at the hands of a book! This was going to be one of my all-time favourite books, but I don't know how to cope with the ending. If the author had tied up more of the loose ends I wouldn't have thought twice about giving it five stars. And maybe that's part of the point of the book; life isn't tidy and things are ...more
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A predictable, and not especially cleverly written piece.

Sometimes it is hard to write up characters who are smarter than yourself.
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Ann. Ann, Ann, Ann. We started off so well - Mead is a great character and you handled his somewhat overdone (super smart kid that starts college early but is still oh-so socially awkward) with surprising dexterity and relatability. Your writing is good and the pace was perfect. And the jumping from before graduation to after graduation with the pivotal event of the book being the convergent point totally worked!

But the last 20 pages? That is were things went off the (pun intended) proverbi
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a coming-of-age story about a boy, Mead, who goes off to college at 15 after enduring a childhood of ostracism in a small town and an overbearing mother who demands that he rise above the mediocrity of his father's family, and it is also a story of academic, professional, and personal betrayal, written in a mixed-chronology suspense format, to gradually unveil the characters' backstory and motivations.

The book appears to be the author's first, and I felt it was rather rough around t
Mead is one of those boys - the ones who keep skipping grades because they are so smart, the ones that everything academic comes easily to, the ones who are destined for great things. If only it was that easy for Mead. Growing up the "genius" in his town was a pretty harrowing experience. Combine some worse-than-usual bullying with a kid who has a lot of brains but virtually no social skills and an over-the-top mother and you get: a pretty traumatic childhood. Mead hopes that all this will chang ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I'm a fan of nonlinear storytelling and I'm a fan of mystery/secrets and their drawn out reveals; combine these elements and I'm sold. But here, things were done in a way that I almost didn't care if I ever learned the details behind this huge upset in Mead's life. One reason why this didn't work for me is likely due to the nuggets of repetition in places where we should have been getting more clues to lead us along. The sort of clues that, no matter how simple, intrigue us and make us eager to ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
To be completely honest I always throw a book in the bathroom. Who knows when you are going to need one in there to stave off boredom, so I keep one at hand. It's always a book that I own because...any alternative seems gross to me. Usually at some point I will pick up the book and then it will become "the book I'm reading" because it will have captured my attention to the point where there is no going back and I have to finish it.

That didn't happen with this book.

It's not that I didn't like it
Laura de Leon
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I said in another review, I enjoy books about precocious kids. What's interesting here is that at18, Theodore (or Mead, as he prefers to be called) isn't really a kid anymore. He's transitioning from childhood to adulthood with some big issues to face.

It took me a little while to get into Life After Genius. I found Mead hard to get to know, and for the first few chapters, the skipping around in time got in my way.

About 1/3 of the way in, the book clicked for me, and I wanted to get to know Me
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the best novel I read in 2011, and maybe a few years before and maybe after. I couldn't put it down and I didn't want to. I read most of the reviews, and agreed with some, and was completely confounded by the person who didn't like it because he didn't agree with the, this is a novel not a text book.

What I liked best: The characters and their fully realized development and presentation. Theodore Mead Fegley, his consistently annoying mother, his father, Aunt Pearl, Herman Wein
Lauren (Shooting Stars Mag) Becker
Teddy is a genius. He graduated high school early and would have graduated college at the age of 18. That's right...he would have. Instead, Teddy (now known as Mead) is back home and refusing to reveal why. With his mom trying her hardest to get answers out of him, his father believing he shouldn't work at the furniture/funeral home with him, and his uncle putting Mead down any chance he can get....what will happen on this journey home?

I've read a lot of people's thoughts on this novel and many
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very different from other things I've read lately. Part academic thriller and part coming-of-age story, this novel explores the world of an 18-year old math genius at the cusp of graduating from college when he shows up at home 6 days before graduation and he won't say why.

Mead Fegley has grown up in a small midwestern town, the son of a furniture store owner/undertaker. His whole life he has been picked on, singled out, and alone. His thinks his luck will change when he enrolls at
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I finished Life After Genius this afternoon while waiting for the freshman football game to start. Thank goodness for mandatory time spent sitting in the car, it allows me reading time!!

I think we've all known some people that are just a bit..well...different. In fact, I think that there is a little bit of Mead in all of us. We all feel like we're just a little peculiar sometimes. It's been very easy to empathize with Mead, and as the book drew to the conclusion, I found a deeper understanding o
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued with the synopsis of this book. A book about a mathematical genius. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that I knew what was being talked about most of the time. Means I didn't spend all that money on a degree in mathematics for nothing.

At first, the book was a little awkward to read. I found myself relating a lot with the main character, Mead, in that his mom is a bit overbearing. Though my mom isn't as overbearing as his mom is, I did see some similarities. And I have a hard
Lolly K Dandeneau
I felt that more could have been done. The story thinned out towards the middle and the ending left me feeling a bit let down. I think the genius struggling with adult eye opening experiences (that hey the world and the people in it can be truly crappy and take advantage) was spot on. His naiveity really made sense as did the fact that being a genius doesn't bestow upon a young boy social know how nor the wisdom age and the hardknocks school of life gifts us with. But the author could have explo ...more
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we first meet Mead, he's just turned his back on college, fled, and returned to his hometown where he's regarded with as a genius and an oddball. His family is disappointed and puzzled at his reappearance. As Mead works at the family businesses, we slowly see the sacrifices that his family went through to help him succeed at University of Chicago as well as the adjustments and cost that Mead paid in his search to succeed and to stand out.

Life After Genius is a fun and interesting read. At t
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting coming of age story told in a present & past tense format. Mead's a genius whom at 18 is graduating from university but flees home to Illinois a week before the graduation ceremony. I wanted to read this to find out what traumatic thing could have caused this guy to leave his precious studies to go back to an undertaker father, a nosy overbearing mother, & a hateful uncle. The overall story was a good one, though Mead's above average intelligence bodes well in school, it does ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got about 20% into this book--about up to page 60. The book begins by setting up conflicts and plot points in three different timelines for the hero. Chapter 1 begins 4 days before Mead, the genius of the title, is supposed to graduate from a university in Illinois. Chapter 2 begins 8 years before the same graduation when Mead is in grade school, and Chapter 3 begins 3 years before graduation when Mead begins his university career. None of the narratives in any of the three time frames engaged ...more
Anne Calvert
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it. My curiosity was piqued almost immediately. He was a genius, skipped grades, and moved on to college ahead of his time. The way the author moved between Chicago and High Grove and timeframes gave a glimpse, a luring in each chapter. This being the author's first novel, I was impressed. I like the style of the writing. The way she explained certain things, ie Reimann Hypothesis, was detailed enough to give a good idea of what it is. I do understand that the author was using a few of ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature YA; Adults
Shelves: ya-read
This is an amazingly insightful tale of a boy genius, with an underdeveloped sense of social graces, an overbearing mother, a checked-out father, a loving cousin and aunt, and a confused uncle. yet, the question arises, are these characters, as seen through the eyes of this brilliant mathematician, as he goes from 16 to 18 and becomes a potential graduate of the University of Chicago, true to form?

Couriously, this book was not listed as a YA selection in the public library, however I believe it
May 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book -- a great coming of age story, with plausible, complex characters, an intriguing plot, and a lot of interesting things to say about family, friendship, and belonging. The way the non-linear storytelling circles around the central incident of the plot echoes the protagonists confusion, without itself confusing the reader.

My only complaint -- if you're going to disguise the University of Chicago so thinly, why not just call it U of C and be done with it? Every time I read "Chicago
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