I have had this book for a long time, and tried to read it on a number of occasions. However I could never get into it. This time around, I thought now is the right time to read this book. And it was great. Mathematics played a big role in it; it seemed to take the place of affection and emotional flow between the mother and daughter, both sets (you didn't need to understand high-level maths to get the analogy here). What was great was when Frances took the opportunity to not make the same mistake with Hypatia, that Juanita made with her. We don't often get to choose our relationships, or their parameters, they are organic and have a life of their own. I believe that's what Frances came to understand when she realised that it was Matti who was chosen, yet she was the child that Juanita could've shared her gift with, if she opened her heart and her eyes.
Frances striving to be like her mother was a sad journey, and at times dangerous for Frances herself. It was heartbreaking watching Frances soak up her mother's maths, without her mother even realising it was happening.
I think the old woman, Joanna became like a surrogate mother for Frances and this was the event that opened Frances' eyes to her relationship with her own daughter. It was also funny, after hearing from Frances how beautiful Juanita was, only to hear others reply "she was?".
And I loved the title of the book, "Leaning Towards Infinity". It's like it could've been "Leaning Towards Immortality", if the characters hadn't been interested in maths. The patterns of our lives, their intersections and their trajectory, don't really have a clear identifiable beginning or end.
If, like me, you bought this book years ago, could never get into it, and still have it sitting in your bookshelf, pick it up, start reading and don't stop, it's very, very good, even after all this time.