Andrea Rothman’s debut novel,
The DNA of You and ME
now available in paperback
• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (March 12, 2019)
“Refreshing…. Asks urgent questions about female ambition. Fans of Lab Girl have found a worthy successor.”—Real Simple
A powerful debut novel—a wonderfully engaging infusion of Lab Girl, The Assistants, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine—that pits the ambition of scientific discovery against the siren call of love.
Emily Apell arrives in Justin McKinnon’s renowned research lab with the single-minded goal of making a breakthrough discovery. But a colleague in the lab, Aeden Doherty, has been working on a similar topic, and his findings threaten to compete with her research.
To Emily’s surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden, and when they end up working together their animosity turns to physical passion, followed by love. Emily eventually allows herself to envision a future with Aeden, but when he decides to leave the lab it becomes clear to her that she must make a choice. It is only years later, when she is about to receive a prestigious award for the work they did together, that Emily is able to unravel everything that happened between them.
A sharp, relevant novel that speaks to the ambitions and desires of modern women, The DNA of You and Me explores the evergreen question of career versus family, the irrational sensibility of love, and whether one can be a loner without a diagnostic label.
Ahhh…… the sweet smell of a book. There is nothing else like it. Old books, new books, leather bound books, books found hidden away in someones attic. Gives me chills just thinking about it. Like most bibliophiles, the smell of a book is right there at the top of my favorites list. (Next to coffee, of course).
Have you ever given any thought to the sense of smell? Why we smell things the way we do, how the sense of smell registers in our brain, and what kind of emotions a smell can evoke? I can honestly tell you that as a nurse, I’ve thought about these things, but never really put much time into it. More like a fleeting “I wonder how…” and then it dissolves, like the scent of cologne as someone passes you by. (This is well before social distancing was a thing).
Andrea Rothman’s debut novel THE DNA OF YOU AND ME centers around the study of smell. But don’t get me wrong, smell is not what this book is all about. Rothman herself states in an interview that her use of the sense of smell is a metaphor for choice and identity, the main themes of the book, and let me tell you, she pulls this off spectacularly.
Emily Apell, an introverted bookish loner is researching the pathways to the sense of smell. When she takes on an appointment in a renowned research lab, she never expected to end up working with another colleague researching her same topic. As Emily and Aeden start to get to know each other, their relationship becomes more than professional and they enter into a physical affair, gradually making way to a more emotional connection that neither of them wanted or expected. As the project nears its potential “make or break” moment, Aeden decides to leave the project and lab, asking Emily to leave with him, walking away from all their work. Emily is at a crossroad and must make a decision that could change her life forever. Years later, when Emily is about to win an award, she finally reflects on her past, the decisions made, and the path she chose.
The ability to mix science, DNA, and the sense of smell into a novel about relationships and ambition, and make it an absolute page turner is a fine art, and let me tell you Andrea Rothman nailed it. The well written intricate details between the science of smell, intermixed with the challenges of relationships makes it hard to believe that this is Rothman’s freshman work. The emotional heartbreak you feel for Emily as she struggles with her acceptance in the world is palpable throughout the book, and her character is written so fervidly that it makes you wonder if the author is writing almost first hand. The story line is so interesting and well paced that I promise you will finish this book in one sitting. And the ending….. well, the best word I can use without spoiling…. bittersweet. Oh so bittersweet. You will find yourself thinking about this book, the decisions made, and questioning what you yourself would have done long after you close the last page. Highly recommend this one, its a very deep and powerful read. Don’t pass it up. (It is also available on audio, for the listeners out there).
Thank you to @andrearothmanauthor, @williammorrowbooks and @tlcbooktours for the gifted copy of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.
About Andrea Rothman
Andrea Rothman was born in Brooklyn NY and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Her debut novel, THE DNA OF YOU AND ME, was published by William Morrow-HarperCollins in March of 2019. The novel has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal, and won an award for Best Popular Fiction in English at the 21st International Latino Book Awards in Los Angeles.
Prior to being a fiction writer, Rothman was a research scientist at the Rockefeller University in New York, where she studied the sense of smell. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was a fiction editor for the VCFA journal of the arts-Hunger Mountain.
Her essays and short stories have appeared in print and online journals such as Literary Hub, Lablit, Cleaver Magazine, and Litro Magazine among others, and can be viewed at www.andrearothman.com.
Rothman lives with her husband and two children in Long Island, New York. She is at work on a second novel.
Happy Reading and Be Nice!