Monday, October 5, 2020

I, Ada, by Julia Gray




Ada is the daughter of Lord Byron who remains for much of this account a distant and mysterious figure. Why is he not present in her life? Did he flee the country because of debts? Was he involved in some sort of scandal? Did her mother not love him? Why won’t Mamma let her have any connection with her aunt, Lord Byron’s sister?      

Both Ada and her mother have an interest in mathematics and machinery. However, Lady Byron worries about Ada’s butterfly mind. She takes Ada on a tour of factories to show her the dark and messy side of machines.   

This is a first person account from Ada from 1821 to 1836 – from when she is five until she is 20. The language is a little old-fashioned it has to reflect the way a young woman would express herself in the 19th century. However, we still get the impression throughout that Ada is confessing to a trusted friend.

This is a fictionalised biography of Ada Lovelace, who was one of the first people to realise that a computer could be built. However, this account does not deal with that and is only mentioned in an afterword. We do however see some of her early connections with Babbage who built a Difference Engine, a forerunner of the computer. It was Lovelace’s notes on her translation of an article in French about Babbage’s machine that led to her fame.        

In this book we see a young girl grow into woman. Julia Gray stays firmly in Ada’s point of view. We may suspect that Ada is anorexic and bi-polar.  

There is some romance.

The ending is upbeat but there is some pain and suffering this text: Ada’s health is frequently not good and there is tension between her and her mother.    

There is a slight feminist agenda here.

The book is 336 pages long in blocked text which uses an adult font.

There is some useful extra information about Ada Lovelace in the end material.    


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