Friday, November 8, 2019

DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman

Reviewed by Kristin

Emily is more comfortable dealing with a microscope than with people. If she could just sit in a lab and analyze how DNA controls the sense of smell and never ever talk to anyone, she would be quite content. Of course she wants to work on a project which could make a huge difference in olfactory neuron research, but she would be fine working on it by herself. The problem is, Aeden and Allegra are already working on a set of genes and it would really help to know if the genes Emily is searching for in the database are the ones already identified.

One day in the lab Aeden reaches out to Emily, and she opens herself to him in a way she did not know possible. They become friends, then something more, but Emily is not sure what it is. She just doesn’t know how to process the possibility of a relationship. Genes are so much easier to read than people.

Andrea Rothman’s language is beautiful and elegant, giving shape to a sparse life blooming into something more. Emily must decide what is most important to her. The path she chooses will change her direction in life, exposing her to experiences she never anticipated.

More than just two science nerds falling in love, The DNA of You and Me examines the importance of human interactions for those whose brains are wired just a little differently. This book reminded me of How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer, reviewed here. The characters in both books seem to have the same kind of disconnect from the world around them, as so much of what matters to them is the science.

Rothman is a scientist who has done significant research on the sense of smell. She clearly understands the workings of genetic sequences and has translated the concepts into language that non-scientists can understand. This is her debut novel.

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