Not Easy Being Green
by Susy Gage
Overview (from NetGalley.com): Finding a dead mouse in the lab is not usually such a big deal. But when the lab is a Biosafety Level-3 containment facility designed to keep things in and out, and when the mouse has a brain tumor that fluoresces under blue light, it’s time to start worrying.
When graduate students start glowing, then it’s time to panic. Especially when they could be spreading a mutant virus in ways you can only guess…
This academic thriller/satire focuses on gene therapy–how it works, how it can go wrong, and how unscrupulous clinics prey on everyone from the vain to the desperate.Written by a scientist in the trenches, the science is real and timely, and the issues compelling to anyone interested in bioethics.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Biting Duck Press, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: Growing viruses? Awesome! Graduate students glowing green? Cool! Science-based book appealing to my super nerdy side? Excitement overload! Not Easy Being Green was on my Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR (To Be Read) List, so my expectations were a tad higher than normal.
The writing was pretty good. Nothing to really complain about there. I do want to point out that this is without a doubt academic fiction. Emphasis on the academic part. There is a lot about microbiology and culturing cells. It says this at the end of the overview, but for those that skim that part – this is your warning.
The character development was eh. I was less than impressed. The majority of the characters were scientists and shockingly stupid. I couldn’t believe some of the decisions they made throughout Not Easy Being Green. The main character, Lori, seemed so apathetic about everything that I just didn’t really care what happened to her.
The plot was about average. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. There were parts of Not Easy Being Green that were amazing, specifically how Oriol Ortiz ran things including his clinic. He ruled with an iron fist to hide any discrepancies in findings and his personal shortcomings. I loved how the author gave both sides of the hope treatment debate (hope for a cure vs. waiting for science to find a viable/reproducible result).
However the scientific parts in the academic labs were horrendous. Every lab I have ever worked in operated under strict safety protocols, no exceptions. Not Easy Being Green made it seem like a lot of those procedures are ignored on a regular basis. I understand that it is supposed to be satirical, but parts of it came across as just plain wrong (sneezing in your sample, not wearing gloves in a BSL-3 lab, etc.).
I ended up liking Not Easy Being Green. I’m just that geeky about science. However, when it comes to a recommendation it would really be on a case-by-case basis. As in, I would only recommend it if I knew someone loved reading academic fiction or was a science lover. So for you readers that don’t fit that unique bill, I would not recommend Not Easy Being Green.
3 out of 5 Bookmarks = I liked it, but would only recommend it on a case-by-case basis.