The Robot Scientist’s Daughter is a poetry book for the non-traditionalists. Borrowing from her life experiences growing up in Tennessee just a few miles away from Oak Ridge National Laboratories, author Jeannine Hall Gailey crafts a narrative about a young girl growing up in a land that poisoned the very food she ate. A slightly unsettling narrative unfolds with the beauty and wonder of nature polluted down to the subatomic level, and its insidious if unintentional effects on the girl and her childhood.
The poems in the book are realistic, but with a touch of science fiction. In some poems the girl is herself a robot her father created, or a cyborg due to the detrimental effects of the nuclear radiation falling upon her during her formative years. The language is both simple, everyday language, while also including jargon more common to the scientific community and technical papers. Even so, Jeannine manages to make the poems both smart and accessible to the layman. The poetry itself is written in free verse, there is no obvious rhyme scheme holding the stanzas together. Instead, there is often a rhythm buried within the lines, which while uneven, is part of the charm.
The poems in this book are biographical, but with just the right degree of science fiction to entice a different readership. A hauntingly beautiful and somewhat melancholy collection, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter is the perfect book for the poetry enthusiast with an interest in science, and its potential side effects.
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