Lab Girl

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Disclosure: This book is recommended for 9-12 grade students. It does include some explicit language. While there may be some mature language in the reading, this book was chosen because 1) It displays a courageous woman’s life journey to become a talented scientist, and 2) Hope Jahren’s perseverance throughout all her trials and triumphs gives girls the hope that they can do anything as long as they are willing to work hard enough and follow their dreams.

Summary: 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 remarkable 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.

Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.

In-text: (, 2017)

Your Bibliography: (2017). Cite a Website - Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Dec. 2017].

  1. S

    I was pulled in different directions while reading Hope Jahren’s autobiography. At some points in her memoir I was completely engrossed in what she was saying, then a couple pages later I couldn’t wait for the chapter to end because I grew bored with her extraneous details of scientific equipment and procedures that I have no background knowledge of. Overall, I think the autobiography was a prime example of perseverance. Jahren was faced with many challenges over the years while building her own labs and conducting research. It’s a captivating story when you think back on all her trials throughout the many years. From car accidents to pregnancy complications, and medications to seeking grant funding, it seemed like her troubles would never end. Although she was faced with many tribulations, her relationship with Bill, her lab partner and best friend, never faltered. I think their unwavering friendship, and her passion to follow her dreams led her to the person she was meant to be all along.

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