Author: Bonnie Garmus
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Released: April 5, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Misogyny, rape
I wish I was in charge of handing out book awards because I would certainly give one to Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. This novel is delightful and hits so close to home, showcasing a world not that far from our past.
Elizabeth Zott is not ordinary. She’s not even average. All her life, she’s had a dream – to become a chemist. Yet, in the 1960s, there was little to no upward movement for women in chemistry or any of the sciences.
Zott intended she could change that. She hoped her cooking show, Supper at Six, would make science more approachable to young women and young girls. After all, what is cooking but another type of science?
“Courage is the root of change—and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.”
Lessons in Chemistry is undoubtedly one of the wittiest books I’ve read all year. It is full to the brim of charm, characters, and poignant observations. I think that’s at least part of why this book hits so hard – it knows how to burrow right into the reader’s heart (it turns out you just had to go through the funny bone, who’d have thought?).
But seriously, Lessons in Chemistry was an absolute delight to read. Word cannot express how much I enjoyed this read. It successfully elicited a plethora of emotions from me. One moment I was fuming in rage at the treatment of women in science. The next moment Elizabeth had me cracking up. This sort of balance made the whole story more…dare I say palatable.
Lessons in Chemistry tackled some very serious subjects, especially for the time. In truth, I feel many of these points are still relevant now, in different ways. If you’re looking for a book that’ll start a conversation, I can guarantee that Lessons in Chemistry will do just that.
I say this a lot, but I do hope that we’ll see an adaptation of Lessons in Chemistry. I’d love to see more people enjoying this story in whatever format they felt most comfortable with. Plus, I’d love to see who they’d cast for Elizabeth Zott.