Lessons in Chemistry is a compelling story about a woman who refuses to settle for less than she’s worth. Read my review!
The buzz is all true! Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a delightful book that I can’t recommend enough. The characters are intelligent and funny, and the story is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s. Read my review to find out why I gave this book five out of five stars.
What is the book about?
Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show.
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. [goodreads.com]
With all of the excitement around the novel, I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but I ended up loving Lessons in Chemistry from beginning to end. The story takes place in the 1960s but feels just as relevant today. Women are still marginalized and sexualized in the workplace, especially in specific industries. They are frequently passed over in favor of their male counterparts, who may be less intelligent or unsuitable for the role. This is the case with Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant scientist who discovers she is no longer accepted in her male-dominated company. As a result, she stumbles into a new career in television, where she finds she can reach more women in a single afternoon than she could in the laboratory.
Lessons in Chemistry is the story of a self-assured woman who knows her worth and refuses to accept anything less despite rising challenges. I adored Elizabeth Zott and her strength of character, and I excitedly turned page after page to find out what happened to her next. Bonnie Garmus’ writing was captivating, and I hope to read more of her work in the future. For me, this was an easy five-star rating.