Rothman's first novel is a powerful one ... Great for readers who would enjoy a surprisingly literary love story set against the clinical, sterile, and cutthroat environment of an academic research lab.
With crisp descriptions and keen observations, author and neuroscientist Rothman creates a realistic picture of the life of a scientific researcher, including the long, lonely hours in a lab, the envious and possessive behavior of other scientists and the highly competitive nature of publishing scientific results. Fresh and intelligent, The DNA of You and Me is a tale of a modern woman in science, though it can be enjoyed by any reader working to balance career ambitions with the possibility of a family.
The sciencey parts of the book (debuting author Rothman studied the neurobiology of smell before turning to creative writing) will fascinate some readers but are not too heavy-handed to deter those who will be more interested in the human angle.
Written by a trained research scientist whose own work mirrors the research conducted by her characters, it is the rare work of fiction that doesn’t dumb down scientific topics for readers and examines the drama inherent in scientific research and discovery ... As a postdoc, Rothman herself studied the neurobiology of olfactory processes, and the scientific details she includes here are numerous, plausible and grounded in actual research. She trusts her readers to stick with her through her admirably clear explanations of genetic processes, and the reward is a fully realized portrayal of a working research lab. Above all, she effectively conveys the drama and loneliness that are inherent in the process of scientific discovery...
A debut novel by a scientist that makes the lab feel like a real place, not clueless stage dressing ... a vivid sense of place and a well-paced, intelligently constructed story. And if readers may sometimes feel like shaking a little sense into her characters, well, isn’t that also true of many of the great romantics of literature (looking at you, Heathcliff and Juliet) as well as—face it—a fair number of one’s own friends? ... The pleasure of this novel lies in Rothman’s sincere, straightforward, unpretentious prose wracked with the loneliness of young love.
Sets a bittersweet love story within the cut-throat world of academic research, a great pairing [Rothman] explores with heart, smarts, and a lot of furtive sex ... This insider look at the rigors and risks of the competitive world of scientific research is fascinating, but it’s Rothman’s aching study of loneliness, heartbreak and forgiveness that resonate.