26 March 2019

Today's Read: The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman

review ofImagine you've just earned your PhD and have landed a place in a prestigious research lab studying something you're passionate about. Now add in a fellow researcher . . . he's nice but he's also both a collaborator and a rival in looking into the neurology of the sense of smell. Here's how the novel opens:

Smell is an illusion, my father used to tell me: invisible molecules in the air converted by my brain into cinnamon, cut grass, burning wood. Heat was a measure of receptors in my skin, and brown was not brown but a combination of light waves captured by cones in my eyes. The world as I knew it, as I felt it to be, was the result of my own personal experience, and so it was up to me to make the best of understanding of it.
The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman (William Morrow, March 12, p. 3 [ARC])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: modern times; New York City
  • Circumstances: Fresh out of grad school, Emily is given a place in a New York City research lab, studying the sensory neurons involved in the sense of smell. Her work involves DNA sequencing, as she tries to identify the  specific genes involved. She's in her element, until she starts to feel a draw toward Aeden. Although they must share results, they are also rivals in trying to find answers to similar research questions. Emily is ultimately faced with the age-old dilemma: balancing career, happiness, love, and ambition.
  • Genre: contemporary fiction; women's fiction
  • Why I want to read it & themes: When I was fresh out of graduate school with a PhD in a biological science, I too had to make choices. I'm interested in seeing how things have and have not changed for women in science.
  • Things to know about the author: This is Rothman's debut novel. She once held a postdoc position in a research lab in New York studying the neurobiology of olfaction, so she knows what she's talking about. She also has an MFA in writing.
  • Reviews: The novel has won starred reviews from print publications, and most reviewers have noted that the laboratory setting is more than gimmick here. The protagonist faces issues that many women in the lab sciences have had to deal with: introvert personalities, a love of their work, a hope for some kind of social life, and ambitious career goals. Goodreads rating is 3.5; Amazon rating is 4.7.
  • Acknowledgments: thanks to William Morrow for a review copy of Andrea Rothman's The DNA of You and Me.


Daryl 3/26/19, 7:08 AM  

sounds promising, thanks

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 3/26/19, 8:41 AM  

This sounds like a pretty good one - enjoy. Here's my pick:https://bibliophilebythesea.blogspot.com/2019/03/first-chapter-first-paragraph-tuesday_26.html

Girl Who Reads 3/26/19, 9:02 AM  

The science nerd in me really likes the sound of this book. See what Susan is featuring at Girl Who Reads

Laurel-Rain Snow 3/26/19, 9:39 AM  

I am intrigued. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “AS YOU WISH”

Audra 3/26/19, 10:38 AM  

Intrigued by the not-gimmicky use of setting -- that has me considering this one.

Les in Oregon 3/26/19, 12:36 PM  

Oooh, this one sounds interesting! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Mae Travels 3/26/19, 12:49 PM  

It has a good vibe but could be too sentimental and conventional OR really take a deeper look at things. I’d be more interested in reading it if you were actually reporting on your own impressions. But you don’t seem to have actually read it.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

rhapsodyinbooks 3/26/19, 1:20 PM  

Great to find out the basics of what it's about - I was wondering!

bermudaonion 3/26/19, 4:53 PM  

Sounds interesting - I wonder if there's a little romance involved.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 3/26/19, 5:24 PM  

I'm definitely interested--I like the theme and setting.

Nise' 3/26/19, 8:50 PM  

As a fan of debut novels, this one has my interest.

Yvonne 3/26/19, 9:36 PM  

This sounds like an interesting one.

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