Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Lab Girl Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 5, 2016
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Features activities and surprising facts about the Land of the Brave This is a brain-teasing trip through the best bits of Scotland return the Stone of Destiny to Scone by finding your way through a maze brush up on your knowledge of Scottish lochs in a word search and find out who recorded the first sighting of Nessie
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
At one point Jahren compares the intelligence of her graduate students to her dog-- and the dog wins. She refers to another quiet student on a trip as "warm-blooded cargo," because of his uselessness as a driver. What really sealed the deal for me was the road trip. 5 Days before a conference, Jahren and Bill decide they want to attend. They decide to drive cross country, taking two graduate students with them to share in the driving (not to enrich their education or anything). One day, Jahren does not heed multiple warnings and directs the graduate student driver to go straight into a snow storm. Predictably, the van flips when they hit some ice. Lessons Jahren learned: 1) When you pee into bottles make sure to cap them. 2) Wear a seat belt. The student driver, understandably shaken, asks to be dropped off at the airport so she can fly home, but Jahren and Bill yell at her and refuse, calling her a quitter. They drag her to the conference in the banged up van so that Jahren can deliver the talk that was so important that it was never mentioned again in the book. When they return, Jahren nobly claims responsibility for the busted university van (as she should-- she was in charge!). How selfless.
Jahren and Bill enjoy giving their students a repetitive, meaningless task, like labeling hundreds of bottles, and then telling them that, sorry, they won't be using their work after all. To pass their sadistic test a student must both resign his or herself to the monotony that is science and accept that the work was wasted, but also salvage something from the time spent. A memorable student saved all the bottle caps, hoping they could be "spares" in the future.
There are little stories like this woven into the book, souring the beautiful language on scientific discovery and personal passion. I was a graduate student once and this culture is pervasive and horrifying and drives good students from pursuing science. A student may have the passion, but s/he just can't contend with being treated like the scum on Jahren's shoes. I admire Jahren's scientific successes and her obvious dedication, but it is overshadowed by her perpetuation of a problematic culture.
There were many holes in Jahrens story that I would have liked to have seen filled in. Her story begins in her father's lab, where she spent countless hours, nurturing her love of science. After this beginning, she doesn't mention her father again, nor does he come to her college graduation. There is no mention of a rift, and her isolation doesn't make sense.
There are many interesting facts you'll learn about plant life, most notably, that trees can communicate over distances as far as a mile. But more time is spent with the minutiae of science - talk of labeling vials, organizing materials, scavenging equipment, worrying about funding, than illuminating the inner workings of plants.
Personal information - the fact that the author is bi-polar seems to come out of nowhere, and then aren't mentioned in any significant ways again, when you know they have to be right below the surface in very significant ways.
Jehren's relationship with her lab assistant Bill is very interesting, much more so than her connection to her husband. While Ehrens was working in Norway, Bill's father died. She didn't hear from him for a month, so she sent him a plane ticket to meet her in Ireland to catch up and do some work. Without communicating, they met at the airport. That kind of trust and connection is rare. And having a husband who understands that is even more unusual.
This memoir read more like a series of vignettes. I would have liked them to have been more fleshed out, and to have more threads running throughout.
If you are a scientist I do not recommend reading this book. Waste of time.