Review: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

June 17, 2017 5 Stars, Reviews 2

Title: Lab Girl
Author: Hope Jahren
Genre: Memoir
Published On: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 290
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
My Rating: Five stars

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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.

I am a little bit of a nerd when it comes to plants. When I was a kid, science and horticulture were my favorite subjects to learn about. When I saw Lab Girl on sale at Book Outlet, I jumped at the opportunity!

Lab Girl was incredibly entertaining, knowledgeable, and had wonderful life messages.  It made me laugh, cringe, and it inspired me as well.

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Hope Jahren is one of the most credible and accomplished American female scientists who specializes in botany. She has worked many different jobs, traveled all over the world, and has gone through many amazing experiences and the worst hardships. With all of these successes and life-lessons, she is a very down-to-earth person who also happens to be a wonderful writer!

“Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.”

There are some chapters in this book where Jahren illustrates her life as she remembers it and her road to becoming a scientist (since it is a memoir). In other chapters, she expresses her vastly incredible knowledge of plants. I, of course, enjoyed every chapter.

Jahren’s helpful lab partner, Bill, makes a large appearance in the book. The dialogue between these two are hilarious, and I loved the stories she told of them together in the lab. Reading this book really inspired my inner nerd, and I found so many positive quotes that I could hardly put my pen down. She also has an entire segment at the end about why we should all plant a tree!

Even if you aren’t a huge science nerd, this book is a must-read. It’s definitely going into my list of favorites. The writing is so smart and you really connect with Hope through all of her journeys. I was sucked into this book and it was quite the page-turner for me. And who doesn’t love plants?? Jessica knows I sure do haha (unfortunately the lighting in our dorm sucks, but I do love my plants).Jason Clarke animation loop cartoon nature GIF

Plus, you get a lot of insight and advice from a scientist – which is awesome. This book also makes you think about life as you know it, and has a lot of facts about plant life, which excites me because I’m a huge nerd.

Do you like science (or plants)? What science/outdoorsy books have you read lately? Leave your thoughts in the comments! ♥


About Caylin

Caylin is a junior in college, and currently studies anthropology. She enjoys reading and traveling, and her favorite book genres are young adult, romance, and dystopian. Her favorite include Jennifer Niven, Anna Todd, Gayle Forman, and many others. You can read more about Caylin and her lifestyle in her about page, as well as her upcoming posts on Strung Out On Books.

2 Responses to “Review: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren”

  1. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    This is actually the first review I’ve read for Lab Girl. Science was never my favorite subject in school, but this still sounds like a really interesting and entertaining read. I may have to check it out the next time I’m in the mood for a memoir. Great review!

  2. Caylin

    I heard it was really good and it was also nominated for and won a few awards! It did not disappoint. I would really recommend it 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

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