The Atomic Weight of Love By Elizabeth J Church



Goodreads Summary:In her sweeping debut novel, Elizabeth J. Church takes us from the World War II years in Chicago to the vast sun-parched canyons of New Mexico in the 1970s as we follow the journey of a driven, spirited young woman, Meridian Wallace, whose scientific ambitions are subverted by the expectations of her era.

In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly.

Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, years later at the dawn of the 1970s, with counterculture youth filling the streets and protests against the war rupturing college campuses across the country, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

My Rating:4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Manhattan Project has always something that has fascinated, so when I found it that this book portrayed an young ornithologist who follows her husband to Los Alamos I knew that I had to read it.I’m really glad I did because I absolutely loved it! I had no idea that they continued doing research after world war 2 and that they still have a research facility today.This book really focuses more on Meridan and not  anything that her husband does as his research is confidential, but it was nonetheless a really interesting read. I never really thought of  all the wives that followed their husband to Los Alamos, and how a lot of them had to give up their entire career and forgo the years of education and knowledge that they had. They could’ve been just as successful as their husbands and it’s amazing what women in those times sacrificed.


I absolutely loved Meridan’s character,loved seeing how she evolved as she got older, loved seeing her struggle. I loved how always upkept her passion for birds, and never let anyone take that away from her.I especially loved seeing all the things she managed to do in her long life.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole affair thing, but I did understand its importance and did appreciate the value of it more towards the end of the book.It’s just that I’m never a fan of cheating storylines,regardless of the situation.

I really didn’t like the husband and there were so many moments where I just wanted to scream at him because I hated him so fucking much

I also really loved Meridan’s friendship with her friend May, and it was really tragic to see the way that whole thing ended.



One thought on “The Atomic Weight of Love By Elizabeth J Church

  1. Pingback: April Wrap-Up | The Book Thief Without Words

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