Author: Allegra Goodman
Publisher: The Dial Press
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Sandy Glass, a charismatic publicity-seeking oncologist, and Marion Mendelssohn, a pure, exacting scientist, are codirectors of a lab at the Philpott Institute dedicated to cancer research and desperately in need of a grant. Both mentors and supervisors of their young postdoctoral proteges, Glass and Mendelssohn demand dedication and obedience in a competitive environment where funding is scarce and results elusive. So when the experiments of Cliff Bannaker, a young postdoc in a rut, begin to work, the entire lab becomes giddy with newfound expectations. But Cliff's rigorous colleague - and girlfriend - Robin Decker suspects the unthinkable: that his findings are fraudulent. As Robin makes her private doubts public and Cliff maintains his innocence, a life-changing controversy engulfs the lab and everyone in it."
My Two Cents:
I read this book for my book club. I don't come from a science background but I understand the importance of honesty and integrity in research. As taxpayers, we want to believe that when our tax dollars go towards supporting labs and institutions that the scientists are taking responsibility and using our tax dollars for good research for the good of the people. I did think it was sort of interesting that Robin's accusations were able to take the lab all the way to a House of Reps hearing about a few out of sorts results. I know that Congress can look at some pretty pithy things sometimes but looking at one lab in particular seemed a little crazy to me. I'm planning to look into this issue a little further.
And while I don't have a science background, I have two brilliant sisters who do have science backgrounds and we've gotten to hear a lot of stories about the camaraderie in the lab. Some of their stories seem like mini-soap operas so it was interesting to me how well Goodman captured that environment.
Bottom line, a woman in my book club put it this way: this book is like a more intellectual beach read. It's a little frothy based in reality.
3 out of 5 stars