Lab Girl Summary & Study Guide

Hope Jahren
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Lab Girl Summary & Study Guide Description

Lab Girl Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.

Jahren, Hope. Lab Girl. United States and Canada: Alfred A. Knopf and Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2016. Kindle AZW file.

When Hope Jahren was a young girl, she regularly visited her father's science lab at a community college in a small town in Minnesota. There, she felt at home and began to decide that she would become a scientist. Most evenings, she and her father spent the evening at the lab Afterwards, they walked home through the frigid Minnesota evening. They never talked, and Jahren looked back on the things she might have learned from her father if they had. Her mother was equally reticent to communicate feelings. Though she could not fully define what was missing from her family, Jahren grew up missing the warmth of love.

She was a graduate assistant at Berkeley when she met Bill. He was serious and intelligent, and they connected immediately. Jahren set out to secure funding to get Bill a place in the lab where she worked. They soon found themselves planning for their first lab together. When Jahren got her first job, Bill moved with her. They never had a romantic connection, but the two were family to each other in ways that their real families were not. Together, they set out to study various aspects of plant science though Jahren struggled to earn recognition and funding for their work. Their early efforts met with little real success in the academic world, but they remained dedicated. When Jahren felt inclined to give in to her fears of failure, Bill provided encouragement.

Bill was something of a loner. He was missing part of one hand and had a horrible childhood because of it. He confided in Jahren that he did not participate in any group activities, nor did he ever date. He apparently never had any real friends, either. Jahren knew in her heart that Bill would always have a place in her life as her family and in her work as a scientist. Through those early years, Jahren struggled with manic-depression until a doctor recognized her symptoms and helped her get on a medical regimen that helped.

While working at Johns Hopkins, Jahren met and married a mathematician named Clint. When Jahren became pregnant, she had to stop all medications. This sent her spiraling into a serious depression. She was hospitalized for long periods and suffered through the first months after giving birth until she could safely start up some of the medications. She worried that she would not be able to show her son the love that she had missed as a child, but she soon found that she was completely devoted to him. In an effort to end the cycle of silence between parents and children in her family, she showed him her love at every opportunity.

Clint landed a permanent position at the University of Hawaii, which prompted Jahren's family to move. That move included Bill. Together Bill and Jahren set up yet another lab and continued their work.

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This section contains 502 words
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