Tag Archives: Mother-Daughter Relationships

Review: Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

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.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton
By Elizabeth Strout
Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812979527, October 2016, 240pp.

The Short of It:

Trauma takes many forms.

The Rest of It:

Lucy Barton is hospitalized for an unknown illness which has taken a bad turn. An infection, most likely. Her short hospital stay turns into several days which prompts her mother to show up at the hospital. Lucy’s husband William is at home with their children, but he, for whatever reason does not like hospital visits and decides not to come. Instead, he pays for Lucy’s mom to show up.

This, in itself is strange. Lucy and her mother have a strange relationship to say the least. Growing up in poverty, and being exposed to some strange behavior has caused damage that Lucy does her best to live with, but it’s always there and from her hospital bed she carefully observes her mother at the foot of her bed, wondering how they got there.

There’s not a lot of action in this story. It’s mostly a “thinking” story. As Lucy considers the life she’s lived, you as the reader will also consider the choices you’ve made as a wife, mother, sibling. From the outside looking in, it’s clear that this family has a lot of things to work through but do they want to? In Lucy’s case, yes because she is trying not to repeat the same mistakes with her own children but you get the impression that she’s not succeeding all that well.

We read this for book club and although it wasn’t enjoyed by all, it gave us plenty to talk about. There are two other books by this author that include the same characters,  Anything is Possible, Oh William! and Lucy by the Sea which just came out. I liked the book enough to pick up the other books but it’s definitely not a happy story and a little sad here and there.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.