11 Jul 2024

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Book Review / Lessons in Chemistry by 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.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

Published:  31st March 2022
Publisher:  Doubleday
Genres:  Historical Fiction, Romance and Feminism


What I liked about this story...  There's something about a historical fiction novel that keeps drawing me in and attracting my curiosity.  This was such a fascinating book to read.    I wasn't sure what to expect when I first went into this but this story is so much more than just a woman who wants to work in Science and Chemistry and because of circumstances out of her control she ends up working in a cooking show applying science to cooking.  For me, the most fascinating part of this book is the interactions between the characters and how men in that time period perceived what women should be (seen and not heard) and that they should not be in the work place.  Of course, this book made me very angry reading about the main character being treated this way but loved how Elizabeth dealt with this.

Would I recommend...  A very serious subject dealt with in a very light hearted and humorous way.  Would highly recommend.