Friday, March 23, 2012

BOOK: Intuition by Allegra Goodman

Intuition by Allegra Goodman, 386 pages

Orange Longlist 2009; New Author Challenge

Michelle, 3M at onemorechapter, recommended this book to me because it had lots of science in it. What a great recommendation! I had never heard of this book, or author, and it was quite a find. 

It reminded me of a Jodi Picoult book, but with much less emotional manipulation, as befitting a science research book. The narration bounces around between several different characters, although always in third person. The reader learns about life in a small research lab, with the politics, and hierarchy and efforts to get money/grants. I wasn't a huge fan of one of the partners, the cancer doctor, but it took his ego and vision and self-centeredness to be able to run the lab.

The plot point happens when one of the post-doc researchers has some possible success with cancer in his mice, which turns all the focus in the lab onto his research. When his ex-girl friend can't get the same results, she complains that he was cheating, or cutting corners. People take sides, the congress gets involved (money from governmental grants) and the whole issue of research is brought under a microscope (no pun intended!) The fact that I could see all sides, and couldn't pick who was in the right showed how complicated some issues can be. Also, with all the different motives, some that people may not even have been aware of, (if they hadn't broken up, would the ex have complained about his research?), it is very difficult to ever sort out some issues.

Having never heard of Allegra Goodman, soon after getting this book, one of her books appeared on a List of Books about Sisters at Librarything. The Cookbook Collector goes on my list of books I want to read.