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Lessons in Chemistry Book Review

Author: Bonnie Garmus
Year of Publishing: 2022
Genre: Humor, Historical Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Pages: 400

Meet Elizabeth Zott, a chemist who defies expectations and breaks barriers in a field dominated by men. Despite facing discrimination at the all-male Hastings Research Institute in the 1960s, Elizabeth finds an unlikely ally in Calvin Evans, a brilliant and Nobel-nominated scientist who falls in love with her mind. But as their chemistry blossoms, life takes an unexpected turn, leading Elizabeth to become a single mother and the host of a revolutionary cooking show.

Through her unorthodox approach to cooking, Elizabeth empowers women to challenge the status quo and make their mark on the world. But as her fame grows, not everyone is thrilled with her bold message of change. Will Elizabeth continue to pave the way for a new generation of women, or will she be silenced by those who fear progress?

Lessons in Chemistry - Book Plot

Being a woman in science is not easy, and Elizabeth Zott knows this all too well. But her fortunes change when she becomes a national sensation, not in the lab, but in the kitchen as a host of a local afternoon television show called "Supper at Six". Her unique take on cooking, infused with chemistry and a strong message of female empowerment, resonates with viewers everywhere. Elizabeth explains to a reporter, "When women understand chemistry, they understand how things work. Science offers the real rules that govern the physical world. When women understand these basic concepts, they can begin to see the false limits that have been created for them."

A decade earlier, Elizabeth met Nobel-nominated chemist and master grudge-holder Calvin Evans at the Hastings Research Institute, where he was a star and she was not, due to sexism. Despite their differences, they find solace in each other, because they don't fit in anywhere else. As the novel progresses, you'll find yourself rowing alongside Elizabeth and Calvin, experiencing the heartache and triumphs of their journey, and witnessing the corporate malfeasance and comeuppance that comes with it.

Elizabeth Zott is a feminist and a modern thinker, who doesn't shy away from being different. Her strong-willed nature and refusal to conform to society's expectations create a heap of trouble for her in a world that is not ready for her brilliant mind, strong character, and an ambitious spirit. She's not one for ingratiating herself with others, and it's her, not her equally eccentric and stubborn partner, who refuses to wed "because I can't risk having my scientific contributions submerged beneath your name."

The novel is filled with an infectious absurdity, as we see Elizabeth discussing complex scientific concepts on a show that is supposed to be about dinner. Her unique perspective on the world and her ability to connect science to everyday life is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The reader is pulled into her world as she takes a "Paul Bunyan swing" at an onion and declares it's chicken pot pie night.

Although the story is engaging, it could have been more concise. The author spends a lot of time reminding readers how exceptional her characters are and how determined Elizabeth is to pursue her truth. The inclusion of Elizabeth's dog, Six-Thirty, as an astute fictional character might not be necessary for the story.

In "Lessons", Garmus has crafted a unique and engaging story that explores the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field and the importance of following one's own path, with a touch of humor and absurdity that make it all the more enjoyable.

Lessons in Chemistry - Book Trivia

Have you read the book? Here's a few "easy trivia" to help your memory:

  1. In which year is Lessons in Chemistry Set?

  2. What is the name of the town where the story takes place?

  3. What is the name of the local afternoon television show that Elizabeth becomes a host of?


  1. The novel is set in the early 1960s

  2. The story takes place in the mythical Southern California town of Commons.

  3. Elizabeth becomes a host of a local afternoon television show called "Supper at Six".

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