The DNA of You and Me

by Andrea Rothman, 2019

Our neighbor, Kim (of Kim and Richard), gave me this book to read because it was recommended for people who liked Lab Girl. It was a very quick read, a novel, a love-story, about scientists investigating the DNA of the sense of smell. The author was a research scientist who studied the sense of smell. Most of the science-y details were impossible for me to follow – like “knocked out” genes of mice, axon guidance genes, etc. The love story between the main character, Emily, and fellow scientist, Aeden, is wrought with difficulties and misunderstanding. Aeden smokes but Emily, who is really into smells, loves him. She’s a loner and always has been. Aeden and she work together and fall in love, but it doesn’t work out due to her insecurities and his trying to manipulate her into coming with him to another lab. He does this by switching the mice and making her think her theory is a failure. She finds out and can’t forgive him until it’s too late (10 years later). She’s famous, still alone, and now he’s married and has a son. They both still love each other, though, and lament what could have been if only Emily had forgiven him.

I love how the book ends: Emily goes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at a painting of a man that looks like Aeden that she found years ago (a real painting of Garshin). When she was there years ago, an employee explains to her that it is not a self-portrait because that would have required a mirror. That gives her the clue to her theory that she needed that makes her famous. Ten years later, after finding out Aeden is married and has a son, she goes back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and cries her heart out looking at that painting that started it all. That same employee is there and he lets her cry and then gives her a tour of his part of the museum and you can tell, they will be friends.

Good book, fast read.