BookBrowse Reviews The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager

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The Smallest Lights in the Universe

A Memoir

by Sara Seager

The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager X
The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2020, 320 pages
    Aug 2021, 336 pages


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About this Book



An insightful memoir about grief, perseverance and the wonders of space exploration by an eminent astrophysicist.

Our First Impressions readers were moved and fascinated by Sara Seager's insightful memoir, The Smallest Lights in the Universe, awarding it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

What it's about:

The Smallest Lights in the Universe is about Sara Seager's life as a stargazing child, a famed astrophysicist and a widow with two children at 40 years old. She is a pioneering astrophysicist and a professor at MIT (Shannon L). 'I would choose for my heart to be broken rather than never feel a change in its beat.' Sara Seager, award-winning astrophysicist and mom of two boys reaches the above conclusion after years of wandering in her own orbit of grief. While Seager is busy advancing in her career and building a full family, she loses the love of her life. In her poignant and heartfelt memoir, the reader is swept away into Seager's raw grief and humbling honesty. From fits of despondency, to a sorority of widows and their children, to multiple awards for the advancement of exoplanet studies and discoveries, and navigating everyday life, Seager learns little by little how to thrive again (Melissa S).

Readers enjoyed learning about Seager's professional life, and the wisdom she gleaned from her personal challenges:

As an astrophysicist, her enthusiasm and devotion in attempting to discover life in other universes was captivating (Darlene G). Astrophysics is a complicated field, but the telling of this story allows the reader a taste of development in the area without overwhelming the story with mathematics and scientific detail (Paula B). Despite my limited knowledge about our universe and astrophysics, I found the book gripping and a good read. I watched one of the author's TED Talks, which helped me immensely to visually grasp what the title of this book is referencing (Dan W).

Many were moved by Seager's connections with the widows' group and found her to be an inspiring woman:

Sara Seager has a clear-eyed and bracingly pragmatic voice that is nevertheless poignant as she shares her grief at the loss of her husband and walks us through her path to healing. A wonderful book that celebrates sisterhood and reaffirms the courage, resiliency and strength of women (Cherryl V). As a recent widow myself, I found her writing both poignant and instructive. I almost felt like I was a member of The Widows of Concord, Sara's support group. A great, great read (Wendy A). As a woman who has worked as a chemist for the past 30 years, I could strongly relate to Seager's struggles to be treated equally to her male counterparts. She has had to overcome a lot of difficulties in her life and has conquered challenges both physical and emotional, which makes this memoir interesting and inspiring. I am now watching her TED talk and YouTube videos to follow her groundbreaking work (Elise B).

Even readers who don't normally choose memoirs loved The Smallest Lights in the Universe, and it was recommended as a good choice for book clubs:

Contemporary memoirs are usually not my stock in trade, but I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read The Smallest Lights in the Universe (Peggy K). I'm normally not an enthusiastic reader of memoirs, but this book captured my attention from the very beginning! (Dan W). I have already recommended this memoir to my book club, as most of it is an easy read due to the writer's skill in weaving her personal and public lives into a memoir that reads like a novel (Carol C). This memoir would be great for any book club that enjoys philosophical conversations about people and what is truly important in life (Mark S).

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in September 2020, and has been updated for the August 2021 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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