Hey all! Welcome back to the Recommend Me a Book series! Y’know, I meant for these posts to become very regular because they’re essentially mini book reviews for books I absolutely loved, but after the last one in early June, I totally forgot I had this series going! I know, bad blogger alert.
Anyway, today I’m recommending a book that is what I like to call a glorious memoir. This book is extremely underrated, though to be air, it came out 3 years ago and memoirs are not popular in YA for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, the memoir I recommend is….
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren!
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Synopsis: Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.
Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.
Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.
So Lab Girl is a book that I bought based on its title and cover. I remember I was perusing through B&N when I saw it and I was like “female scientist with her own lab?Mine!” Took it home and the rest was history.
Guys, I love this book so much. It’s one of those books that I could never get tired of re-reading and always feel inspired by after re-reading it. Within the fleeting 290 pages of the book, Jahren covers her early childhood experiences that introduced her to lab life, her experience as a graduate student, struggles with manic depression, loneliness, temporary homelessness, sexism in science, etc. It’s also holds a great story about how she met her lifelong friend Bill, and their adventures together as their friendship progresses. (Also: I know what you’re thinking, but they do NOT become romantic partners!)
Lab Girl might be a short memoir, but it is absolutely filled with so much humor, wisdom, and inspiration. If you are a female-identifying person that is daunted by pursuing a career in science, read this book. You will not be disappointed by Hope Jahren’s lively and brutally-honest voice.
Those are my very short thoughts on why you should read the glorious memoir known as Lab Girl. I think the next time I re-read this book I’ll end up doing a full review because there is a lot more to talk about. But if you’re curious now, you should give it a go! See you all next Thursday!