The following is my friend Carol Edge’s review of Becoming Mia.
Perhaps it is too soon for history to be thoroughly objective about the second half of the 1960s in this country. But the period always evokes opinion, firsthand or secondhand, lived or imagined, condemned or romanticized. Wendy Teller’s depiction of the ’60s — Becoming Mia — is both lived and imagined. Rooted in the author’s personal experiences, this engrossing story focuses on a young woman’s coming into her own during a transitional period when many young women were awakening to their potential.
Teller paints a convincing picture of what “co-eds” faced at a time when the phrase “math phobic” was freely applied to girls, even those with talent. Protagonist Mia must overcome some very real obstacles before embracing mathematics, where her true talent lies. Her journey is fraught by that other preoccupation of youth: falling in love. The latter is often as much an obstacle as the system that prefers its women students to seek “MRS” degrees. Mia’s quest to realize her potential is complicated by her love for and loyalty to her family, in particular her beleaguered father, whose brilliant accomplishments cast a long shadow.
Teller’s novel, while drawing on her unique history, speaks to universal themes of love, adversity, and growth. The process of “becoming” is ultimately about self awareness.
Carol Edge, 5/1/18