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Loving Richard Feynman

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Catherine is a science-loving fifteen-year-old. Richard helped build the atom bomb. Catherine's just trying to survive school. When your life is falling apart around you, is talking to a dead physicist normal? ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published 2009 by University of Queensland Press
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  150 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Amanda
Shelves: own, ya, aussie-lit, contemp, 2017
I just love it when quirky little books find their way to me.

Loving Richard Feynman first popped up on my radar after Mandi (@thebookishmanicurist) spotlighted it on one of her amazing Insta posts. Being married to an engineer who is an avid devotee of Richard Feynman (they even share a birthday!), I was immediately intrigued about the concept of a teenage girl writing letters to dead Nobel-winning physicist. I'm not exactly one who reads science-y books, but I've actually read the book Catherin
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loving Richard Feynman is a fun little book about maths geek Catherine's life at high school and in a changing family, but it is also about her changing relationship with Feynman as she gradually reads his reminiscences in Surely You're Joking .

Writing her diary in letter form to Richard Feynman, Catherine admires him, scolds him, kisses him goodnight, talks to him about boys and science and family, asks him how he felt about atomic bombs, and gives him a good strong serve of feminist ire.

This book was refreshing and had it's own unique beat to it.

Catherine (protag) reminded me a smidgen of Bindy (Jaclyn Moriarty) although the writing is not dramatic or Moriarty-esque, it is written in diary format and it's fresh and funny and heart-felt. This book will resonate with many teenagers.

Catherine is such a cool nerd, awkward and smart and earnest. It was easy to feel that teen angst with her - reminded me of being back in school and studying and how huge exams and competitions are.

Jos M
I really, really enjoyed this, even though it belonged to basically my least favorite genre -- "realistic" YA fiction.

Catherine is a mathematically gifted, socially awkward 15 year old from Kyneton (country Vic shout out, woo!). This is basically a journal (of letters to her weird crush, the late physicist Richard Feynman) of about a year in her life in a pretty pivotal moment of coming of age for her as she renegotiates her social relationships, especially in light of a new boy, Felix, entering
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Novel idea with the entire book consisting of a diary in the format of letters written to the long since passed physicist Richard Feynman. Catherine was a bit too petty, insecure, and naive at times, but I still enjoyed the story. Nice change of pace for fans of anything Feynman (as I am), but not sure if non-fans would find much with the book.
Tara Calaby
(2.5 stars)

I'm not sure I'm sciencey enough for Loving Richard Feynman. You see, it's a fairly standard contemporary novel for young adults, with mild coming-of-age themes, made different due to the protagonist's love for science and unique crush on a long-dead physicist. While I loved mathematics in high school and would very much have enjoyed the maths competition that Catherine takes part in, I never had the burning urge to study physics or to become a scientist when I grew up. So, in that se
Steve lovell
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
We discover little about the mistress at the core of the delightful 'Loving Richard Feynman', a YA novel from a few years back by Penny Tangey. It's known that the culprit is a work colleague of Catherine's father's and a professor of German. Her dad conducted his flings with her when he was out of town at conferences – the town being Victoria's Kyneton. Catherine keeps a journal of her inner most thoughts that only we and the eponymous dead physicist are privy to. You see, the young lady in que ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was the first of Penny Tangey's books that I read, lent to me by her mother-in-law, who knew I was a reader. I didn't really know what I was getting into with this book, but it had me hooked almost immediately. It has pride of place on my desk, in the small pile of my absolute favourite books, and after reading the copy I was lent, twice, we eventually went out and bought our own copy, which I have read countless times since then.
The book actually managed to get me interested in things such
Anthony Eaton
Sep 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely piece of Australian YA fiction, which has deservedly done well in the various awards this year.

It's kind of like 'The Search for Schrodinger's Cat' meets 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole' - Tangey has created a lovely character in her protagonist, Catherine, and has captured all the awkwardness of adolescence, but without resorting to cliche or to overly didactic storytelling. Instead, she's given us a beautifully rounded and cleverly conceived coming of age story which sits com
Vicki Stanton
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved the whole concept of this book: a girl talking to a scientific genius like he was a rock star. Don't be scared off by the fact that the main character loves maths and science. I had so much empathy with her and science and maths are foreign languages to me. The story really excels when her family unravels.
Aug 05, 2011 added it
This is a bit of a surprise packet. It's a charming and clever book, that doesn't try too hard. Catherine is a gawky and out-of-sync character, yet her insights and reactions all ring true-to-life. I loved the combination of science clashing with high school life. ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
2.75 stars
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. Kind of a coming of age story, it's mostly about a teenage girl learning about some of the ways in which the world can suck - and some of the ways in which it can rock, and just how hard it can be to disentangle those from each other. Plus, it's set in Victoria, so I got the fun of recognising so many of the places described in it. ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good. Would really suit the introverted/socially anxious/geeky teenager in your life.
Helen Stower
Time & Place of the story:

Modern Australia (Victoria) – makes a reference to cyclone Larry so probably 2006.

Most of the plot takes place at Catherine’s home or at her school.

Main Character (description, challenges, changes):

Catherine, the main character of the story, writes letters to the dead physicist, Richard Feynman. The letters reveal what is going on in her inner-life in response to what is happening in her public life.

Catherine is a little bit of a loner, she is very judgemental and finds
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The last Australian author I read was A.B.Patterson, so it was somewhat of a pleasure to encounter Penny Tangey's book quite by accident when I was looking for something by Richard Feynman. The premise is nearly a teenage girl's diary, with the interesting twist that it is in the form of letters written to Richard Feynman. Catherine is beginning her tenth year at school (a school year which begins in the Fall which is March, and ends in November, which is Spring). Her father has given her a post ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I admittedly haven't tried reading YA in a long time, but during my brief stint last year of wanting to be a physicist, I saw this book in the library catalogue and really did want to read it. Sadly, it wasn't there, but it was at my school library, for some reason. And I read it all in one sitting in one night and most likely woke up my parents multiple times with my cackling.

So this is a charming book on its own, but I suspect the reason I really enjoyed it so much was just because I could se
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Amanda
Loving Richard Feynman was another really charming book and a real hidden gem of Aussie YA. Catherine is a socially challenged fifteen year old trying to fit in at school. To cope she begins writing a journal to Richard Feynman, a famous physicist who, if I’m honest, I’d never heard of before I started this. He was an important guy though, and I enjoyed learning about him through Catherine’s letters.

Just like Six Impossible Things, I understood and could relate to Catherine’s anger with her fath
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I really liked this book mainly because I related so much to Catherine. I know I can accidentally offend people and reading about characters like me help me understand why I can upset people. Reading about a situation, knowing that I would've probably made the same decisions as Catherine and seeing how people react really helps me in day to day situations. I ended up kinda shipping Felix and Catherine mainly because I really liked Felix, and FELIX IS SO OBVIOUSLY ALIKE TO RICHARD FEYNMAN LIKE HO ...more
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: aussie-ya
hmmm half way through this book and I was unsure about it I've now finished it and I'm still confused. For some parts of the book I loved the honesty but others I didn't. There were a lot of parts in the book that felt I had to remind myself that Catherine was in year ten. The way she went about some things was very naive and childish. I have to say that while I didn't really like a lot about it this book was very refreshing and honest. The idea for the book was fantastic and I loved the letter ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Teenage me would have LOVED this book. Fifteen year old Catherine writes letters to Richard Feynman (a dead physicist who worked on the atomic bomb) while attempting to come to terms with the events in her life, herself and the people around her. Writing that actually sounds like it was written by a girl her age (I swear I have hidden journals that sound exactly like this with all the fumbling writing, pettiness and self-doubt/self esteem issues alongside vague feelings of superiority). And refe ...more
Jan 31, 2015 added it
I read this book in large part because I went to high school with the author. I'd feel a bit funny giving it a star rating because it feels a bit like rating my own high school experience. Well, parts of it. My brain kept trying to map things to reality even though there's no reason it should really work that way.

P.S. I had a primary school obsession with Louis Pasteur, but it's probably for the best that I know next to nothing about him as a person. I gave up on the idea of role models and hero
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Catherine is a 15 year old, who loves science and maths. Her pin up is Richard Feynman, one of the scientists working on the development of the atom bomb. She begins writing to Richard in her diary, so she can tell someone about the problems in her life, which include her lack of friends, low self-esteem, problems with working with some of the members of her maths team and her parents' disintegrating marriage. Over the course of the novel, she has to come to terms with the changes in her family ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Australian + nerdy + meaningful insights = happy Emi.

Catherine, a fifteen-year-old who loves science, starts writing letters about her life to dead physicist Richard Feynman as she experiences changes in her life and her opinions of other people.

I don't normally get carsick, even when reading, but did today. Despite this, I just took brief breaks before continuing to read. Because it was a fantastic novel.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is really a 'nothing' book and I have no idea why it has been shortlisted for Book of the Year. Written solely in letter format, nerdy, science loving Catherine decides to write to her hero, Richard Feynman, creator of the atom bomb, about her life. I found Catherine to be very annoying and inflexible in her outlook and although I had to smile at a few of her observations, three quarters of the way through I was skimming the book, willing it to end. ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was actually not to bad. The main character, Catherine, actually sounded a lot like me. It was nice to read a book written in diary form, since i have read heaps od books that conform to the 'normal' way of writing as of late. Not a definate favorite and a fast read. I will pick it up again.

3.5/5 for me
MJ_Lover xx
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it
An Aussie female Adrian Mole. It was quite a funny read, not original but okay.
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
i absolutely hate catherines attitude soo much and her personality as well. 'what is wrong with her?' is what some people wil be thinking when they read this novel. ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tracey by: no one..i just got the book from the libray
Shelves: favorites
Felix told catherine about hes home life and helping hes mum out before she died...Catherine understood..It was a nice book to read..and i enjoyed the storrie.
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