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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Memoir Combines Feminism, Science and Family

Title: Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes a DNA Scientist
Author: Laura L Mays Hoopes
Blog: ;
Genre/category: memoirs and biographies
ISBN-10: 0557923204
ISBN-13: 978-0557923205

Originally reviewed by Elizabeth (Libby) Grandy for Amazon

Laura L. Mays Hoopes has written a memoir that gives a personal face to the struggles of women in the world of science. Although Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling is a serious study of the inequities of the sexes, Hoopes writes about her life as a scientist and professor with good-natured humor.For example, during her sophomore year at college, one of her part-time jobs was beheading frozen fruit flies. Hoopes writes, "I must admit, at times, when I was frustrated, I dubbed these flies with the names of certain professors, just before relieving them of their heads."

Hoopes scientific journey is fascinating, but her personal journey is just as inspirational. Her first husband died at the age of forty-three, leaving her with a four-year-old son to raise alone. To fill the void in her life and support her son, she focused on her scientific career and wrote a genetics textbook published by Macmillan in 1981. When she met her present husband, he supported her passion for science, and they shared a love of Celtic culture, music, and literature. A daughter born several years later completed their family.

Hoopes is a pathfinder for all those young women who choose science as their professional career. This absorbing, honest memoir chronicles a balanced, successful life.


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1 comment:

Madeline Sharples said...

I love this subject since I worked for 28 years in the aerospace industry before becoming a memoir author myself. I found inequities early on; however, now your women engineers are doing very well. People like Laura and I paved the way for them.
Read about my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide at and my blog: