Hope Jahren fell in love with science as a child helping her father in his laboratory at a community college in Minnesota. Her love of literature and writing developed when her mother shared her studies during completion of a degree in literature. Gardening with her mother generated an ongoing fascination with plants. The culmination of these childhood activities and the accomplishments to which they led are beautifully presented in Lab Girl. It is obvious that Dr. Jahren developed an additional talent all her own: teaching. Her descriptions and explanations of the structure and activity of plant life are so vivid that it is easy to imagine being her student, and loving it.
The juxtaposition of her life story and scientific data are skillfully woven together by her well-crafted writing. Throughout the story her lab partner, Bill, plays a significant role in her success. He proves to be a stabilizing force despite his consistently unique approach to life. The book definitely has its humorous moments.
Young women interested in pursuing careers in science would benefit from reading Lab Girl, but anyone who enjoys cheering for a winner will equally enjoy it. How refreshing to be reminded that brains, persistence, and hard work can lead to success.