Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren: Survive and Thrive

Reading the beginning of Lab Girl by Hope Jahren through The First Look Book Club I was charmed by Jahren's voice and put the book on my 'to read' list. When I saw it on the new book shelf at the library I brought it home with me.
"Each beginning is the end of a waiting. We are each given exactly one chance to be. Each of us is both impossible and inevitable. Every replete tree was first a seed that waited."
Jahren has faced many challenges: a lonely childhood, working herself through school, struggling as a female scientist against the prejudices of a male dominated field, finding funding for her projects. Her success can be verified by her choice as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, her Fulbright Scholarships, and her long relationship with her lab partner Bill. She found love and faced a difficult pregnancy sans medication for her bipolar disorder to have the child that changed her life.
"I have learned that raising a child is essentially one long, slow agony of letting go."
Jahren's writing is so lovely to read. Her love of her work as a geobioloist and her awe of nature shines through the pages. She alternates chapters on her life with chapters about the world of green growing things around us.

The self-portrait Jahren paints reveals her personal challenges and insecurities without being confessional and raw. Her lab partner/best friend/soul mate Bill is interesting and complicated, eccentric and brilliant. He once lived in a hole in his parent's back yard. We come to love him as much as Jahren does. We are happy when her loneliness is ended by marrying a man who 'gets her.'

To read a section of the book go to

To read an interview with Jahren go to
A gorgeous book of life. Jahren contains multitudes. Her book is love as life. Trees as truth.” —Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune

Lab Girl
Hope Jahren
Penguin Random House
$26.95 hard cover

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