Cover Image: Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

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Member Reviews

Lessons in Chemistry follows Elizabeth, a chemist, who becomes the host of a new cooking show.  Elizabeth wants to run the show her way and that doesn't go over well with the producers but the audience seems to love her.  As a STEM gal myself, I loved how strong and independent Elizabeth was in her career.  I also just loved all of the chemistry references.  I do think it was a slow build to get to the point of Elizabeth becoming the host of the cooking show.  All of the build up was definitely important and maybe I just assumed her being the host of a cooking show as going to be the main focus of the book.  But to my surprise there was a lot more to the book which wasn't a bad thing!  Elizabeth went through a lot in her schooling, career and life before she even got to the point of being a show host.  This book was emotional, funny and eye-opening on how women were treated in the 1960s.
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What a wonderful, quirky character! Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the early 1960's. She works at a research center where, to put it nicely, she's not highly respected. Women in science are a rarity and most men there assume she is a secretary regardless of the white coat she wears. But then she meets the renowned Calvin Evans, a young man who has won multiple awards but on a personal level, is not well-liked. As the two get to know each other, there is definitely "chemistry" but they also realize how much they have in common. 

Calvin is the only person who seems to take Elizabeth as a serious chemist, but given the times most people there especially her boss just assume that Calvin is responsible for her work.  Elizabeth has strong feelings about traditional female roles, she doesn't want to ever get married because she wants her research to be in her name. She doesn't want children because she wants her career. She is a very serious woman and I wasn't sure how I would like the character but boy did she grow on me! 

The couple live together, not something normally done in the early 60's, and take on a dog named after the time they found him, 630. 

There is a lot of humor in the book, be it very dry humor. Elizabeth's dreams for her future take a major dive and her life is turned upside down, but she stays true to herself and her chemist lifestyle. We've come a long way since the 1060's but I think most women will still relate to some of the misogamy that is so prevalent in the book.

Again, loved the characters! I am always driven most by characters and I was definitely rooting for Elizabeth and those who became her family.

Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.
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Wonderful!!  A slice of what life was like for women in the 1950's.
A brilliant chemist is forced out of her job by jealous coworkers & made to host a daytime tv cooking show for housewives to support herself and her young daughter. She does not conform to the general stereotype of a beautiful woman they want for tv, but her show is wildly popular with everyone, except the producer.

This book is written so intelligently and is immediately engaging, funny, heartbreaking and life affirming. 
The only thing I did not think was that great was the title and book cover - it makes it look too much like "chick lit", which it is not.  I think the story would appeal to both men and women, young and old.

I received a free copy from Netgalley and Doubleday for my honest review.
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Thank you PRHAudio for the complimentary audiobook and Doubleday books and NetGalley for the gifted galley of this amazing GMA Bookclub pick. 

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a marvelous satisfying tale set in 1950-1960 of Elizabeth who wants to liver her life on her own terms! Elizabeth a  unfaltering, fearless chemist turned TV star of a cooking show, who is way ahead of her generation is my new favorite character of 2022!

I highly recommend this fun, quirky, comical novel that hit the shelves on April 5, 2022
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Lessons in Chemistry is probably not for everyone. But I loved it. Maybe it helps that I had a mom that treated cooking as a science and I have 2 degrees in science. Elizabeth is a strong, no nonsense capable woman who had the misfortune of being born when men thought they were better than women. This story made me appreciate how far women have come and gives me hope for my daughters futures. Elizabeth and Calvin’s love  story is beautiful. And Mad and 6:30 great offspring. Elizabeth manages to help so many people make their lives better just by being herself. A chemistry lesson for all of us.
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Best book I have read in a long time! Elizabeth Zott is a scientist who has important discoveries to make in the 1960s scientific community. But who is preventing her from achieving her goals?
The misogynistic, sexist, groping, male-elitist scientific community. Seen merely as an attractive woman, she is relegated to menial jobs and not given opportunities to succeed. But Elizabeth is resourceful and determined…..she will not be stopped. When she meets Calvin Evans, a brilliant scientist working with the Institute where she is being stymied, there is a clash… seem as a chemical reaction of love and like minds. 

A few years later, life has taken an unexpected turn. Elizabeth’s science career has taken a financial hit without funding and her new role as mother is overwhelming her. Elizabeth is still one to rise and use her science skills to morph into a cooking guru on a highly watched new show. Her supporting team is full of characters the reader will come to love, as much as they will mentally hiss at the bad ones. 

This is a funny, poignant and spot-on assessment of the role of women in the sixties. Much to root for and discuss. All book clubs need to embrace this challenge and enjoyment. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this title.
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There are so many cliches that I want to say when describing my love for this book: I laughed and I cried, I fell in love with the characters, I didn’t want it to end. But this book deserves so much more than tired book review language. It’s heartwarming, hysterical, thought-provoking, and inspiring. It’s everything I crave in a well-written book that I know will stay with me for a long time.

I almost didn’t give this book a chance based on its cover (it looked like a chick lit book to me, a genre I’m not a huge fan of). But then I kept seeing five-star reviews pop up and I got intrigued. I’m so grateful that I dove in, and now I feel compelled to spread the word about what a treasure this book is.

Garmus has crafted a truly memorable main character in Elizabeth Zott. She’s a brilliant chemist in the 1950s when not many women had positions in the field. She’s brutally honest, driven, and a survivor in every sense of the word. When she meets famous chemist Calvin Evans in her lab, she truly learns a thing or two about chemistry (their connection is undeniable). I won’t go into more of the plot because the best parts were surprises. But Garmus has imagined a whole cast of characters that flew off the page and into my heart. There were several twists I didn’t see coming, and I’ll admit a few parts where I cried real tears (not easy for a book to make me do).

There was so much cleverness in this book and loose ends that got tied up in beautiful knots by the novel’s last chapter. As a writer, I’m astonished that this is Garmus’ debut novel and insanely jealous that someone has this much storytelling talent. I eagerly await what she writes next, but I have a hard time believing anything will touch me as much as this one did. Please, please go read it!
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Definitely in the minority for not loving this book. I felt zero connection to the MC or why she did what she did. It looks like a romance, but I have no clue what genre this is. The writing was confusing and I never understood who’s POV we were getting.
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I enjoyed this book but think it may have not been for me. The story kept me engaged but I couldn't help but want to skim at times. It may have been a case of the wrong time to pick it up. I'm an extreme mood reader and if I pick a book at the wrong time my rating and feelings will 100% reflect that. 

I can see where several of my friends thought it was absolutely charming. I had my moments of soaking up the story! But in the end, the spunky writing style didn't win me over. With a 4.53 rating on Goodreads, I would still highly recommend reading, the people are loving it! 

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC! 

Lessons in Chemistry are out now!
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This is one of the most quirky and unusual books I’ve read in a while and while I was hesitant at first, I’m super glad I stuck with it because Elizabeth Zott is a character I won’t forget any time soon. 
Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant, highly trained scientist who’s career is stuck in place simply because of her gender. She’s totally overqualified for her current job at the Hastings Institute. In a bizarre twist of fate, she meets Calvin Evans when she demands that he treat her as equal and share his equipment by taking it  from him herself. Calvin is a beloved scientist at the Hastings Institute, where he is working despite many offers from major universities because of his work. But Calvin is a devoted rower, and his friend told him that the weather in California was perfect for rowing all year long. 
After they fall in love, they face several challenges with their relationship as well as their careers but they move forward and move in together and adopt a stray dog, which they name six-thirty because that’s the time they found him at, and Elizabeth proceeds to use scientific methods to teach the dog over 800 words! 
Several years down the line, Elizabeth finds herself a working mom, as a consultant for other scientists who need help with their work. She likes the work, but it’s not enough to support her and her daughter. One day, everything changes when she finds herself the host of a new cooking show that soon takes the nation by storm. Elizabeth is determined to raise her daughter to be strong and independent and she does so by example, not just talking the talk. She does things very differently than most women at that time and I loved her fierce determination and her strong scientific mind that shows the men of the field what’s what. Her talk show is a hit with women all over the country because it’s not a typical cooking show, she uses science to create recipes and to empower the women who watch. 
There are some fantastic support characters and lots of science but it is used to relate to  life and it’s challenges. 
“Sometimes I think”, she said slowly, “that if a man were to spend day day being a woman in America, he wouldn’t make it past noon.”
“Strode to her easel, marker in hand. CHEMISTRY IS CHANGE, she wrote.
"Whenever you start doubting yourself," she said, turning back to the audience,
"whenever you feel afraid, just remember. Courage is the root of change--and change is
what we're chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make this
pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others' opinions of what
you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into use-
less categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion. Do not allow your talents to lie
dormant, ladies. Design your own future. When you go home today, ask yourself what
you will change. And then get started."

Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for this eArc in exchange for my review.
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What a great read! 

I love a book with a good strong female lead and Elizabeth Zott is just that. She is smart, highly capable of pretty much anything, and headstrong. 100% fearless. 

Oh and Six-Thirty! 😭 Looooooove

This book is one that warms the heart. It makes you laugh, feel, and think. And those are the best kinds of stories. 

I loved it.
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Wow wow wow! This book was amazing! Elizabeth Zott was such a strong character, and I loved how in the 1960’s she believed in women’s equality even when the world kept holding her down. She faced so many obstacles, but held her head high and overcame them in some clever, non-traditional ways. Elizabeth Zott should be a role model for all women. 

I loved the parts of the book when Elizabeth was hosting Supper at Six. She once again stood up for gender equality, but in a unique way, and it was great how she threw in chemistry to all of her cooking lessons. These parts of the book provided some humor while still showing how strong Elizabeth was. 

There are so many great secondary characters in this story, my favorite being Elizabeth’s dog, Six-Thirty. I loved his backstory and how he came to be a part of her life.  Other notable characters are Mad, Harriet, and Wakely, but I loved how all the characters Elizabeth met along the way interconnected somehow. I loved the found family aspect of this book. 

This book is so much more than historical fiction. This is a story about a woman’s survival in a man’s world and how she made other women realize they could break the stereotypes and follow their dreams. I’m so impressed that this was Bonnie Garmus’ debut novel. It’s written wonderfully, and I didn’t want it to end. 

Thank you NetGalley and Doubleday Books for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I just don't love characters who are written to be quirky, especially when they are strident. I can't imagine a life where I was always trying to cram my square peg into a round hole-and I don't buy that someone so intelligent couldn't figure out a better way to get what they want from the world.
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** thank you NetGalley and Doubleday Publishing for giving me an early copy in exchange for my honest review **

“... she only ever seemed to bring the worst in men, They either wanted to control her, touch her, dominate her, silence her, correct her, or tell her what to do. She didn't understand why they couldn't just treat her as a fellow human being,  as a colleague, a friend, an equal…”

There is a lot to say about this book, it was so powerful and impactful. I couldn't put it down. At times I didn't know where it was all going but I feel this book was more about the journey and the struggles of Elizabeth being a woman between the 1950-the 1960s. From her short-lived love life to being a mother, to being a scientist. She wasn't a “normal” woman, because she questioned, analyzed, she challenged everyone around her. What's even better is that she wasn't asking to be noticed as a woman in science but as a Scientist. She wanted to be recognized for her accomplishments alone regardless of her gender. The situations Elizabeth went through, had me aching and burning my core with impotence and with the realization of how much we let go or accommodate as women to fit our “roles”. 

“Elizabeth simply refused to accept limits, not just for herself, but for others”

The characters were all magnificent and they all play an important part in Elizabeth’s life, even her dog had a point of view. A story with heart, soul, and logic. The themes explored here are so important, even though it's set in the 50s-60s, a lot is still very retable today. It's definitely a must-read, a story with heart, soul, and logic. 

“In short, the reduction of women to something to something less than men, and the elevation of men to something more than women, is not biological: it's simply cultural. And it starts with two words: pink and blue. Everything skyrockets out of control from there.”
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Stellar exposé of an academic woman in a “man’s” world. With apologies to Elizabeth who would hate that label. 

What a genius story! I laughed, I raged, I cringed, I teared up, I cheered, and I fell in love with Elizabeth Zott, truth seeker and brilliant research chemist at a time when women were given the proverbial pat on the head, or bottom, and sent to make coffee. Leaning towards being somewhat on the spectrum, Elizabeth is so focused on her research that she misses the social cues that if she gave them a thought, would cause her to be less. 
I adored her daughter Mad and I can’t even begin to relate how I feel about the family dog Six-Thirty, a failed bomb sniffer canine, who is protective, intelligent and wise. 
Elizabeth always expects that people (and animals—are not humans animals? a basic tenant that causes much trouble for Elizabeth) are able to “do” things. That extends to the audience of her unexpected job hosting a TV Cooking show (which Elizabeth translates as chemistry for her own understanding), daughter Mad who by five has read most of Dickens, and Six-Thirty who after training from Elizabeth understands upwards of 900 words. What Elizabeth expects and mostly never gets is fairness and acceptance from her male counterparts at the University research facility, (they feel are threatened and exposed), and her female colleague who feel jealous. Out of left field, Elizabeth finds that acceptance from the unexpected love of her life, the equally as brilliant, and as socially awkward, Calvin Evans, a leading chemist with the Institute.  The “who” of Calvin. and their chemistry together, is a radiant, wonderful part of the story.
Discrimination and injustice are all part of the backdrop set in the 1950’s and 60’s world of academic research. That includes the unwanted sexual advances, the hypocrisy involved in the stealing of Elizabeth’s work and research, and the inability of stupid men in power to acknowledge their own limitations, and their wanting to make Elizabeth pay for being a  threat to their egos, and the confident self image she represents. Something they resent.
There are so many great moments in this story. I was struck by Elizabeth’s enraged, pertinent observation, her questions as to why women perpetuate cultural stereotypes, 
“the reduction of women to something less than men, and the elevation of men to something more than women, is not biological: it’s cultural. And it starts with two words: pink and blue. Everything skyrockets out of control from there.” The ideas underlying this tale are BIG, and haven’t lost any of their impetus for today.
A superb read!

A Doubleday ARC via NetGalley 
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
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This is a book I didn’t know that I would love!
I absolutely adore Elizabeth Zott, a strong, smart, scientist and the main character in this book. 

California, early 1960’s, Elizabeth is working as a Chemist at a research institute. She is constantly undermined, treated poorly and not recognized for her skills and intelligence. 

As time goes on she ends up being a tv host for a cooking show at 4:30 and just blossoms! She empowers the women watchers with all the little scientific facts about cooking and baking and why doing it a certain way or temperature you get the best results. Women watchers love the learning and being treated like they are smart!

The story builds Elizabeth Zotts life with it’s past events that have gotten her to where she is. We meet the fall in love with the people close to her in her life, even the dog named six-thirty, who narrates at times!

This book is intelligent, heartwarming, motivating, emotional, empowering, and gives hope. To all the powerful women out there in the world today, so grateful for you and your voices!

4.5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for the advance e-copy of this book in return for my honest review.
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Set in a time where women are considered the weaker sex and are supposed to be homemakers, Elizabeth Zott pushes back against all these expectations.  

Elizabeth is a chemist who is up against a myriad of issues in a make-dominated workplace and society. As a woman in academics, she’s looked down on and not taken seriously; her co-workers steal her work and, even fellow women believe she’s riding the coattails of her brilliant lover, Calvin Evans.

Unexpectedly alone and pregnant, Elizabeth has to make some tough choices while still holding on to who she is. Elizabeth is a brilliant, quirky, and fierce feminist. I loved how she bucked the system and never backed down from her fight against the patriarch. 

While the story is set in the late 50’s/early 60’s, there are still parallels between women, particularly those in STEM, from then to now.  It’s a whip-smart account of how strong women can be and what can happen when pushed too far.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy!
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"𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘯, 𝘴𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦. 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧."

When my friend Liz raves about a book, I know I'm in for a treat and 𝗟𝗘𝗦𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗦 𝗜𝗡 𝗖𝗛𝗘𝗠𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗬, the story of a chemist who becomes a reluctant star as the host of a cooking show, was everything she said it was and more.

"𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘺, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬... 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮."

There are so many things about this book that shouldn't work. It's filled with extremely quirky characters. The timeline bounces around in unusual ways. The POV shifts from one person to another to a dog and back. Oh, and there's a lot of science talk. But Bonnie Garmus's writing is just so sublime that it all comes together in an unexpectedly entertaining, charming and moving way.

"𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧, 𝘭𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘴. 𝘜𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘸𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘰."

I have no doubt this will be one of my top 10 books this year. And as an aspiring novelist myself, I find the author as inspiring as her trailblazing heroine - she published this debut at 65 and I cannot wait to see what she writes next!

Thanks to Doubleday books and NetGalley for a copy to review.
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Walt Disney World features some of the longest waits for rides — but I truly didn’t mind waiting because it meant I got to read this book. LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY was unlike any other book I’ve read before and it will go down as one of my favorites of the year even though it’s only April! LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY is set in the 1960s, and follows scientist Elizabeth Zott — whose career takes a detour when she becomes the star of a TV cooking show.

Read this if you love:
❤️books set in the 50s-60s
🧡Women in Stem 🔬
💛lovable, quirky characters & dogs
💚found family

My quick thoughts:
- If you’re a fan of character driven novels, don’t skip this one! 
- I went into this almost completely blind, which really aided to my experience of the novel. I recommend you skip out on reading spoiler-y reviews and just go read it! 
- This book had a lot of dry humor that actually had me laughing out loud 
- Everyone deserves an animal companion like Six Thirty. I loved imagining what my cats are saying to each other about me
- I thought the pacing was fantastic— but if this one doesn’t grip you from the beginning I say stick with it! This one only gets better as it goes on.
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Book: Lessons in Chemistry 
Author: 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. 

Review: This was written/edited beautifully.  It made me laugh and think all at the same time. If you enjoy historical fiction books that deals with feminist issues, and has quirky characters, I recommend this book.
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