Lessons in Chemistry
By Bonnie Garmus
Doubleday, 9780385547345, April 5, 2022, 400pp.
The Short of It:
Pure fun with a little bit of science and feminism.
The Rest of It:
Elizabeth Zott is a chemist. In the 60s. She is brilliant, but pegged as “difficult”. Her discoveries are impressive but not to her peers. Her male peers consider her to be more of a lab tech than a ground-breaking scientist. When she uncovers something big, her male boss takes credit for it. None of this is new to Zott. It began in school and unfortunately affected the job offers she received. This is how she ends up at Hastings, a research institute run by a total tool.
It is at Hastings that she meets Calvin. Calvin, is a well-known scientist and a hot commodity for Hastings. He could have worked anywhere but chose Hastings for its mild climate. You see, he is also a rower so good weather year-round was a plus even though he could have gone anywhere.
Lessons in Chemistry surprised me. From the cover, I had ZERO interest in reading it. It looked like one of those fluffy romance reads. But then I read an article that praised it on many levels. And then my book club selected it for this month’s pick. So, not only did I find a copy, I BOUGHT a copy. Something I rarely do. It surprised me in many ways:
- It’s full of science but masked as cooking tips
- Zott is difficult, but in a very likable way
- There is an adorable dog
- Yes, there is romance but not fluffy, silly stuff
- There are highs and lows. Not all happy stuff
- It does illustrate the difficulties that women faced in that decade
This is one of those feel-good reads. It will be on my fave list at the end of the year because it includes love, loss, overwhelming challenges, and in my opinion, some really great characters. However, with all that good, it was predictable, which is why this is a four star read for me. It’s predictability did not affect my enjoyment while reading it though. I eagerly looked forward to it every time I picked it up.
If you passed this one over due it its cover alone, give it a go.
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