by Hope Jahren
Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 290 pgs. Biography
Hope Jahren is an acclaimed botanist. From her early childhood she loved the world of science and worked hard to build a lab she could call her own. On her way she becomes lab partners and best friends with Bill, a wounded but brilliant researcher who joins Hope in her adventures and discoveries. In Lab Girl she describes her battle to establish herself in a male dominated academic field, find continual funding for her research through extremely competitive grants and contracts, and overcome episodes of mania and depression due to struggles with mental illness.
I think my favorite parts of Jahren's insightful memoir were the chapters about the plants she loves so much. These chapters were interspersed with chapters following the author's life through decisions, triumphs, and disappointments. I gained an entirely new perspective on the inner life of trees. I wanted to go right out and plant a big oak in a nearby park. Lab Girl is a fantastic memoir for anyone looking for inspiration and new insights to life in our beautiful world.