by Hope Jahren
“Lab Girl” is a fabulous book especially to any woman considering or entering an engineering or science field. Hope Jahren is the author of this perfect book. Hope is a wonderful teacher and writes in a manner that laymen can understand. Lab Girl is a great book. It is a thoughtful book, an educational book, and an entertaining book. It is a book about accomplishment and struggle. But, most of all, it is a book about perseverance. Hope book spans a breadth of years and of topics. In its role as a biography, it relates the author’s life from her cold Scandinavian childhood through to the loving relationship she shares with her husband and her own son. We are with her as she struggles with mental illness and she allows us to witness how she overcomes those challenges even during the frightening months of pregnancy when she has to cope without medication. The reader learns so much about the life of a scientist, the role of research and the constant stress of funding.
And the trees: Jahren’s telling of their life brings a new majesty and appreciation to hardy and ancient residents of our planet. Compelled to discover the secrets of plants and their role in the history of the Earth, Jahren recounts in Lab Girl the path of a singularly focused and perseverant soul. The clear and captivating writing by Jahren makes this book, which interweaves the story of the author’s life in science, her relationship with her perpetual lab partner and brother-from-another-mother Bill, and the life of trees makes for a beautiful read. The author’s straight-up honesty of the twists and turns of life, experiments, life in the lab and field, mental health, and the people will we choose to travel and build our short lives with somehow both fill you up and opens the mind at the same time. But each life is unique and Jahren’s tenacity, honesty, and individual path make for an utterly new and refreshing story. Overall, Lab Girl provides an insightful and entertaining trip into the world of academia and botany, while remaining approachable for casual readers. We strongly recommend it to anyone interested in careers in science.