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Book Review: Lab Girl

By John Rodgers

With September comes the very first day of fall, a welcome change for plant lovers who have been anticipating the leaves changing color on the trees. Readers will also recognize September as Library Card Sign-Up Month, an annual celebration of the positive impact public libraries have on their communities (and an excuse for anyone without a library card to drop by the library and discover the fun they’ve been missing). Fans of plants and books owe it to themselves to break in that shiny new library card to check out Lab Girl, a memoir by Hope Jahren, which is available from Sequoyah Regional Library System in print, eBook, and audiobook versions.

Like Jahren herself, Lab Girl sets out to accomplish a multitude of things. The autobiographical chapters covering her childhood, education, and different jobs within the field of science (including constant struggles to secure funding for research) are interspersed with sections that diverge from the narrative in favor of botanical observations, anecdotes, and gardening advice. While readers may prefer one of these elements over the other, few will deny that this style of writing provides a refreshingly candid look at its author as a scientist, as a mother, and as a person. This book should be appropriate for most readers ages 14 or older, but be advised that one section dedicated to a detailed description of childbirth may make some people uncomfortable.

Those who have read Lab Girl (or are simply looking to learn more about the book) are welcome to attend the R.T. Jones Memorial Library’s Canton Eclectics Book Club meeting on September 13 at 6:00pm to share their thoughts with other readers and Lisa Huskey, the branch manager at R.T. Jones. The Canton Eclectics Book Club meets monthly inside the library’s community room. To register for this and other free library programs, visit the event calendar at