Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus


Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Review by Laura

It seems to be one of this summer’s big talking points and has rave reviews from both critics and the general public.

I’ve discussed the book with a lot of friends and haven’t found anyone who didn’t enjoy it, overall. I did enjoy it and would recommend it, with the disclaimer of a couple of annoying moments where things get a little caricatured, or as one of my friends said, “contrived”.

The beginning is quite different from the rest of the book, so if you’re struggling with the first pages (which I was), then it’s worth sticking it out.

Likewise, the end is perhaps not what I would have hoped to see, it felt just a little too easy, but despite all that, it was entertaining and I whizzed through it in no time at all.

My advice for reading this novel: think of it as a modern fairytale, or perhaps a literary comic book.

lessons in chemistry

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