Cover Image: Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book! An unapologetic woman doing her thing?! Yes please! It was also funny and just something I needed to read!
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This was a really charming tale, very unexpected. I would have liked it more if not for the corny dog-POV hook.
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BOOK: Lessons in Chemistry
AUTHOR: Bonnie Garmus
FORMAT: Audiobook
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PUB DATE: 4/5/22
RATING: 4/10
2 stars

Thank you to @doubledaybooks and @netgalley for my #gifted advanced copy of LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY, out now!


Hmph. I was super excited to read this one after seeing a lot of really great reviews, and then seeing it become the @gmabookclub pick of the month of April! As I started it, I began seeing some mixed reviews and I actually bookmarked them on IG to read after I finished the book, so not to be swayed in any given direction. Two of the reviews I read that really spoke to how I felt about this book were @imprettybooked and @hellobookishdarling . I highly recommend reading both of their reviews on this book. 

I really did like the concept of the book. A woman in STEM fighting for her role in a male-dominated field in the 1960's whose life takes a few unexpected turns while we watch her navigate a new role in the aftermath. The marketed female empowerment and STEM representation really drew me in. And at first I was totally invested. 

This book is marketed as "laugh out loud funny," and very inappropriately tackles very serious and triggering content. It happens very early on in the book and left a sour taste in my mouth right from the start., As the book progressed, I grew increasingly frustrated with the MC. The author used pretty outdated and harmful stereotypes of STEM professionals, such as being socially inept in all situations and the inability to separate science and work from all other areas of life. The lack of social skills and naïveté of the MC became increasingly frustrating as the book went on. The overuse and exaggeration of almost every single male character being ridiculously misogynistic was too much for me. This, along with the exaggeration of the plot itself in a satirical way, intended to drive home the message of the book, had an opposite effect on me and left me frustrated and annoyed. I also was absolutely and thoroughly confused for the majority of this book. The random mix-ins of POV shifts to random characters AND ANIMALS? These transitions were so unclear and gave me whiplash. 

I strongly encourage you to read the two bookstagrammers' reviews I mentioned previously (@imprettybooked and @hellobookishdarling ) to read more about how this book is actually quite harmful. I second everything they both said. 

And to reiterate, books are SUBJECTIVE. This one was not for me, there was a lot in it that didn't quite work for me. That does not mean that you can't and won't like it and as always, I recommend reading to form your own opinion as well. Please be kind and respectful with your opinions.
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I finished reading this book the week that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. As I reflect on the discrimination the main character, Elizabeth Zott, is subjected to throughout the course of the book, it's disheartening to feel like, decades later, we are starting to row backwards. 

Despite the world devolving, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and, like many, believe it's one of the best books of the year. I found it darkly funny, thought provoking, and gripping throughout. Garmus crafts character that are unlike anyone I've met and yet I feel like I've known them my whole life! 

In one scene, Calvin Evans (a renowned chemist) listens to Zott (just as talented but her true potential held back because, misogyny), describe the despicable treatment she receives at the hands of her male boss and colleagues. Evans is astounded at her description and asks why on Earth they would do that. Zott in her classic deadpan, direct way, replies "Sex Discrimination." This scene has stayed with me - such a simple scene but it says so much. 

This book takes you on a journey and gets you invested in all of the characters and their stories. In the end, we are all collectively the women in the audience watching "Supper at Six" hanging on Zott's every word as she adds just the right amount of sodium chloride to whatever she's creating. 

Thank you, Bonnie Garmus, for taking us seriously. 

Highly recommended!
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A beautifully written book with a strong female character that defies the constraints of gender to share her knowledge of chemistry, science, and knowledge.  Highly recommend. 

Thank you, NetGalley, for an advanced copy of this novel.
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Smart women. Check
Great dog. Check
Family that is not blood related. Check
Progress for women in a time period there was little. Check

Elizabeth Zott is a chemist, trying to get ahead and be respected in a time period where women working anywhere outside the home was discouraged, let alone in a chemistry lab. She is just not wired the way they want her to be, and this amazing book details her story from finding love, finding rowing, finding herself and being true to that self all in one. I absolutely loved it. Thankful for this ARC!
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Lesson in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a wonderful book. I love how the main character does not take any man crap. Great read. Cover could use some work.
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What is s woman scientist/single mom to do when she isn't taken seriously in a man's world of the 1950s? She creates her own world. And cooks up some very special relationships, meals, and situations along the way. This book is so different from most of the books I've read lately. Its funny, I laughed out loud. It gave me a new perspective on cooking. I found it very relatable since I live with a husband who is a chemist. I recommend this book as every enjoyable.
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I throughly enjoyed this book.  Ms. Garmus’ writing is filled with wit, humor and a clear picture of what women faced in the 50’s & 60’s.  I loved how parts of the story were told through the dog Six-Thirty.  The story is a reminder to women to go for your dreams, do not dumb yourself and fight for what is right.  It is also a love story, true love on equal levels.  And, it is a story of the love for a family even if it is not a biological one.

Thank you#NetGalley, #Doubleday,#PenguinRandomHouseL.L.C. and #BonnieGarmus for the copy of the book for my honest review.
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Lessons in Chemistry cover kinda lead you to think the story was a RomCom not so much. There is a strong female friendship between Elizabeth and Harriette. If it weren't for that I might have given up on the book. There was a lot of focus on the charters looks and that they were "ugly" which really did not support the storyline. Several of the reviews said it was out loud funny. I think they missed their mark.
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I thought this was a riveting story with a unique plot unlike any other. It is unapologetically feminist in nature with a theme of women fighting for their own voice in the sciences. It doesn't gloss over the struggles faced prior to the 1960's, some of which we still deal with today. In fact, girls and women are still facing social pressures to be more feminine and less intelligent these days. Hopefully, this book will light a spark amongst all the young women who read it. I look forward to reading more interesting books from Bonnie Garmus in the near future.
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Wow. I have to be really honest. I was super loving it in the very beginning and could not wait to tear through this. Then the thing happened. It definitely needs a trigger warning so it is a very brutal rape scene. I have visceral and physical reactions to those types of scenes, whether in movies, books, TV, news, etc. They make me very shaky and my tummy starts turning. Luckily it was one small scene that really set the stage on where this books was going. 

What a book. I cannot say enough good things about it. It will be in my top reads this year. Well done, well done, well done. 5 huge stars from me. I love the writing style and I just wanted more after it ended. Devoured in about 6 hours.
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Any story with a brilliant woman as the main character is an automatic read for me!

This book is so popular and I can absolutely see why. It was smart, funny and so entertaining!

The challenges that Elizabeth had to face made her stronger. She’s a great role-model.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the dog POV that would pop up now and again. And I’m a dog lover! But it just didn’t feel like a good fit to me and was a distraction.

Otherwise a fabulous story with an amazing MC!
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I loved loved loved this book about a quirky female scientist trying to make fit into an extremely male-dominated career.  It is one of the better books I've read this year.  Give it a try.
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Short synopsis: Elizabeth Zott is a chemist working to make some big discoveries, but when she pushes the limits in the science community she instead finds herself as the host of a cooking tv show. 

My thoughts: I feel like the book is intentionally written in a way that we as the reader are uncomfortable. We are seeing the world through the eyes of a very intelligent woman. Elizabeth Zott is an unusual woman. She’s very literal and to the point and I think the writing shows that. 

I liked how REAL this book was, and shows us how little progress have been made in male dominated careers since the 70s. I liked to see how Elizabeth Zott tried to make changes to advance women in her own special way, under everyone else’s nose. 

There were a couple of parts in the story that confused me, and messed with the flow. One second she’s a chemist, then on tv? Huh? 

The ending wrapped up perfectly and I did not see it coming at all! 

Read if you’re a sucker for:
* Cooking shows and leafy greens
* Hydrogen bonds
* No-nonsense
* Desert dry humor
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Lessons in Chemistry has my vote for best novel of 2022 so far.  The main character is so compelling she all but leaps off the page, and the author does a masterful job of creating a period, that I was literally transported.  An excellent novel that I enjoy recommending to all my library patrons, especially those who enjoy historical fiction.
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Absolutely loved it! Featured this in the 2022 Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide and of course it's our July MMD Book Club selection: 

A life-affirming tale of a chemist ahead of her time, a life-changing love affair, a dog with a huge vocabulary, and the combustible combination of chemistry, cooking, and afternoon television. Elizabeth Zott only ever wanted to be a scientist—but because she’s a woman in the 1960s, she has to go begging for beakers despite being the smartest researcher in the building. After Elizabeth is ostensibly fired for being unwed and pregnant (but really for being smarter than her boss and dating a rival scientist he loathes), she can’t make ends meet. Out of desperation she accepts a job hosting a tv show called Supper at 6. She loves to cook, because cooking, after all, is chemistry. The producers want her to smile and look pretty, but Elizabeth is much more interested in teaching housewives not just how to make dinner, but how to change their lives. Lively and life-affirming, with an unforgettable protagonist.
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Even thought I have a beautiful BOTM copy of this, I chose to listen to an audio version. I'm so glad I did, because the narrator, Miranda Raison, was fantastic. She caught all the nuances, voices, and emotions. 

And, the story was equally fantastic. It's hard to believe that the 50's is considered historical fiction, but it is and it's also hard to believe how far we've come in women's equality. I think we still have a ways to go, but we are definitely in a different place than we were 70 years ago. Elizabeth Zott is a Chemist. She's also a beautiful woman who is rarely taken seriously in her chosen profession. 

I loved Elizabeth Zott and her daughter Mad. The side characters were amazing (I promise 6:30
will be a favorite), and we frequently get their back stories and thoughts. It was really nice to jump from perspective to perspective of what was going on and everyone was unique, intriguing and interesting. And there was also a slight mystery through the story which was engaging. This is definitely a book that I will be recommending! I really can't think of a book to compare it to – I think that was part of the appeal, how unique the story is.
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Thanks to NetGalley and DoubleDay for the ARC.

This was such a delightful read with moments of humor and heartbreak.  

Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant chemist who finds it difficult to be taken seriously in the 1960s misogynistic climate.  Most of her scientific career had met with her research being sidelined or ignored, until she met and fell in love with Calvin Evans, the darling Nobel-prize nominated chemist of Hastings Research Institute. Together, they were the perfect genius couple and the envy of the staff.

Unfortunately their love affair was cut short and Elizabeth soon finds herself a jobless, single-mother to a very precocious daughter and an unusually smart dog.  Having few options, when given the opportunity to host a televised cooking show, Elizabeth took it and added her own little twist.  With every meal she prepped, she gave a lesson in chemistry and gave her audience the idea of possibility.

As I said earlier, this story has some humor and heartbreak.  There are some serious trigger warnings like suicide, rape, domestic abuse and death.  I also suspect Elizabeth is neurodivergent.

LessonsinChemistry #NetGalley.
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Lessons in Chemistry is the debut novel by Bonnie Garmus.  I loved this book!  I gave it 4 1/2 stars!  The strong female character is Elizabeth Zott, who is a chemist in the 1960's.  She is a single mom who lands a tv cooking show where she is able to incorporate science.  This book showed how far women have come and how much work there is still left to do.  I am looking forward to the tv adaptation of this book.  Thank you to NetGalley for the arc.
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