Lessons in Chemistry

A Novel

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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 13 May 2022

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • A must-read debut! Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).

"A unique heroine ... you'll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional." —Seattle Times

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.  

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • A must-read debut! Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose...

Advance Praise

“It’s the world versus Elizabeth Zott, an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms, and I had no trouble choosing a side. Lessons in Chemistry is a page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty.” 

Maggie Shipstead, author of Great Circle

“Lessons in Chemistry is a breath of fresh air—a witty, propulsive, and refreshingly hopeful novel populated with singular characters. This book is an utter delight—wry, warm, and compulsively readable.” 

Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“I loved it and am devastated to have finished it.” 

Nigella Lawson, author of Cook, Eat, Repeat

“It’s the world versus Elizabeth Zott, an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms, and I had no trouble choosing a side. Lessons in Chemistry is a page-turning and highly satisfying...

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Featured Reviews

I absolutely loved this book. Don't let the word "chemist' or 'chemistry' scare you. I worked in a pharmaceutical company where we always heard someone utter the phrase "Better Living Through Chemistry". If you truly think about this, it's true. The entire planet is about chemistry. But I digress.

You will be enraged, engaged, laugh, curse, feel like you want to kill most of the secondary characters, because we've all faced discrimination, back-biting co-workers, colleagues that speak over us and take credit for the ideas or the work. Sexual assault, no access to meaningful work or abortion. We're STILL living this in the 2020's, more than seventy years from when the novel is set.

BUT - there's also romance, friendship, acceptance, and love. And a great animal companion who is not only a guard dog, roll-around and play on the floor, dog, but also smart. He knows the actual meaning of 968 (or so) words, has favorite novels, but can also participate in chemical experiments (wearing goggles).

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5 stars to this beautifully written novel.A book women will devour will pass from friend to friend.Elizabeth Zott a chemist a strong independent woman whose life is not easy.This is a story that will have you laugh out loud ,feel an emotional connection and cheer her on.Each character is unique comes alive.A book I will be recommending perfect for book club discussions a book that will stay with me.#netgalley #doubledaybooks

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This was the most entertaining book I have read in a long time! I loved the humor, the science, the love story. This book has it all, and I hope Bonnie Garmus keeps writing more books!

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With Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus has written a witty, intelligent, and beautiful book that unflinchingly examines the experiences of a female scientist and chemist in the 1960s. I was riveted. Elizabeth Zott is one of the most courageous and unforgettable characters I've come across. No spoilers, but this brilliant, non-conformist, and self-assured woman endures so much and is a trail-blazer. This book had me laughing, heartbroken, angry, proud, etc. The clever plot wove in chemistry in such a way that even though I'm not well versed in it, I felt connected to what Elizabeth's viewers must've felt from watching her show. The writing is crisp, the dialogue sharp, with fascinating characters, a multi-layered plot, and strong statements on society. Even the dog, Six Thirty, is remarkable! Just like its heroine, this book is truly extraordinary. Hands down, one of the best books I've read this year.
Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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Awesomely intelligent, witty, and sarcastic (in a most entertaining way), Lessons in Chemistry is a book I'll remember for a long while. Elizabeth Zott is refreshing and slightly frustrating at the same time. You'll wish she'd compromise just once, but also cheer on her independence and determination in the not-so-woman-friendly late 50s and early 60s. Daughter Mad Zott is a precocious delight, neighbor Harriet never fails to tell it like it is, and canine family member, Six-Thirty, wise and protective, is one of the best dogs EVER in fiction. Each character deals (or doesn't) with tragedy and trauma, including Elizabeth's scientific soulmate, Calvin Evans, and latest boss, Walter Pine.
Never a dull moment, be prepared to fall thoroughly into this book.

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Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus will take you through a lot of feelings. Pride, dismay, sadness, laughter and hopefully some self-reflection. I loved this book, which I don't get to say often enough for as much as I read.
Set in decades past, the story unravels the live of an aspiring chemist. Not shockingly, she faces degradation and abuse from the men in her life. She still perseveres, pushing all the dismay, rejection and horror she has felt to keep moving forward. Then, by a happy accident, she ends up meeting the one man who believes in her and her work.

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This is an unconventional book about an unconventional woman. It is paradoxically inspiring and disheartening…and I loved every minute of reading it. I truly regretted coming to the end.

The story takes place in the southern California town of Commons in the early 1960s. The prevailing view of woman is best characterized by the popular sitcoms of the day – think Donna Reed, Harriet Nelson and the Beaver’s mom, June Cleaver.. (If you are too young to relate to these references, these woman wore make-up, jewelry, shirtwaist dresses and lived to feed their families and keep an impeccable home.)

Elizabeth Zott, however, is a woman born ahead of her time. Her dream of becoming a research scientist abruptly ends when her mentor in her master’s program sexually assaults her and denies her entry into the PhD program. Subsequently, her work environment at the Hastings Research Institute isn’t much better; she is demoted from her position as a chemist to a lab tech by a narrow-minded, jealous boss and eventually fired. As her life unfolds she loses the love of her life, becomes the mother of an “illegitimate” child and, of all things, hosts an afternoon television show featuring cooking based on chemistry. The show not only instructs women to cook from a very different perspective, but also inspires the audience to consider bold, new possibilities for their lives.

The qualities I admire most about this woman – what makes her a true heroine – is her honesty, her integrity and her perseverance. While her capacity to stand up for her truth in the face of overwhelming social and cultural prejudice toward women in general and in science specifically, her uncompromising posture ensures she will never “fit in” – a rather lonely and frustrating existence.

I love books with quirky characters and this book delivers them in abundance. Elizabeth, herself, exemplifies this; she lives predominately through her brilliant, rational mind and is so serious that it becomes the basis for some of the humor woven into the storyline. Her precocious daughter, Mad, is a wonder. Perhaps my favorite is Six-thirty, the dog who flunked out of the military training for bomb detection and emerges as a personality in his own right.

This book is a breath of fresh air. When so many authors rely on formulistic plot lines, Ms. Garmus has created an original and highly entertaining novel that finds a delicate balance between the humor and the pain of human existence.

My thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon upon publication.

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Lessons in Chemistry is absolutely brilliant! Absolutely could not put it down.. I found myself actually laughing out loud so much I just had to read parts of it to my husband. It's clever, witty and tragic. What more could a reader want.? So well written I could see this as a mini series. I haven't fawned over a book in forever! Kudos to Bonnie Garmus on her fabulous novel. I wouldn't change a thing. Special thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for this opportunity to read this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I completely devoured this book! Lessons in Chemistry is such a unique and original novel that had meat “hello”! This great read centers around a quirky, brilliant, take no bull female character who holds her own in a male denominated profession and I AM HERE FOR IT! I think the most surprising aspect about Lessons in Chemistry is how much I literally laughed out loud—love that! I have texted my family/friends and told them to pre-order this gem and to keep it in mind when picking their spring 2022 book club selections! Lessons in Chemistry is a complete 5 star book that I found so inspirational! Looking forward to reading more from Bonnie Garmus in the future!

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Lessons in Chemistry by debut author Bonnie Garmus will go on my list of “best of the year” reads for its stunningly original plot, extraordinary characters, wry dialogue, and compelling writing style.

The centerpiece, Elizabeth Zott, describes herself as someone who has “never fit in.” A brilliant chemist, she is treated poorly at Hastings Research Institute because she is a woman. But she is one of the few who isn’t intimidated by wunderkind Calvin Evans who, in his twenties, has his own lab, has already graced scientific magazine covers, and has been nominated for a Nobel Prize. They meet when she boldly steals beakers from his lab, and Calvin—who has never had much luck with dating—falls hard.

Both Elizabeth and Calvin have had challenging childhoods, with dysfunctional families affected by premature deaths and incarceration. They understand and support each other, accompanied by an adopted stray dog they name Six-Thirty. The dog is remarkable, dedicated to protecting Elizabeth and the pair’s uber-precocious daughter, Madeline (Mad), and learning to understand hundreds of words they have taught him. Just one of the book’s “elements of impossibility.”

Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the book tackles what Elizabeth calls “a patriarchal society founded in the idea that women were less.” When they wanted more than their traditional role, they were often rebuffed, ridiculed and disrespected. But the book uses droll humor to address sexual inequality and discrimination. When Elizabeth leaves the lab, she suddenly finds herself the host of “Supper at Six,” an afternoon TV show. To the dismay of management, she presents cooking as chemistry, never talking down to her homemaker audience and encouraging them to go for their dreams.

Elizabeth, Calvin, Mad, and Six-Thirty are characters you will root for and remember. The plot moves in unexpected directions and will keep you enthralled. I hope Bonnie Garmus is working on her next novel!

My thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for allowing me to read and review this book.

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Elizabeth Zott experiences chauvinists everywhere until she meets her soulmate Calvin Evans, a brilliant chemist. Calvin dies young leaving Elizabeth unmarried, pregnant, and fired from her job. Undeterred, she is offered a job as hostess for an afternoon cooking show. The book is powerful and educational with many laugh out loud moments. A must read for all women, especially those raising children at home.

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I absolutely loved Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus. Not only is this novel engaging, with terrific characters, but the story itself is just wonderful. I have already recommended Lessons in Chemistry to my book club group and to everyone who will stop to listen for 5 minutes. This is a novel with love, grief, subtle humor, and on some occasions, laugh-out-loud hilarity. The dog is perfection, and while the author does not note the breed, I have decided that the dog is a terrier, specifically an Airedale. I could not put this novel down. It was that wonderful, and what an engaging surprise from a first-time novelist. I will be anxiously awaiting a next novel.
Thank you to the author, publisher, and to Netgalley for providing this ARC. 5 VERY Large Stars!

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A book about chemistry, not interested. But chemistry in cooking on television? What a delightful romp through the vicissitudes and adventures of one woman's life. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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I loved this funny, smart, sweet story. Initial thought was perfect for hipper fans of Fredrik Backman. The characters were great and will stick with me for a long time. Thanks!

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A good storyline, characters that you totally love, and laugh-out-loud moments- what more could you ask for in a story? A thoroughly delightful debut novel- definitely recommend.

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This was the first book I read in 2022, and-- like most things over the past couple of years-- it was not at all what I expected. In this case, it turned out to be WAY better! Elizabeth Zott is a chemist, cooking show host, rower, survivor, mother, and just an all-around badass independent woman in the 1960s-- a time when ladies were supposed to stay home, cook dinner, and raise babies. With a description that says, "Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize-nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results," I expected the typical guy-meets-girl, guy-loses-girl, happily-ever-after. But whoa. This book was so much deeper. There are a few mysteries, a fairy godmother acorn (you have to read it to understand that one), and a whole lot of shaking up the norms. I LOVED this book and think everyone should read it, too!

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I completely, head-over-heels, loved this book: the voice, the story, the women’s lib element—running right smack into the 60s. Same dry sarcastic she-against-the-word as Where’d You Go Bernadette, but very much it’s own world. And, chemistry! Not to mention all the ways the 60s snuck in, so fun (and fraught).

Populated with a number of viewpoints, this helped me bond with multiple characters, though mostly Elizabeth, Madeline, and Six-Thirty. Excellent!!

*Think* What would it have been like if Madame Curie had lived in 1960s America, and this book is the delightful answer. Definitely going on my Not-to-Miss-2022 list!

Thank you for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus will forever change the way you look at a sharpened number two pencil.

Elizabeth Zott is a wonderful chemist who could easily change the world, if only people would stop mistaking her for a secretary. Set in the midcentury era in the United States, Lessons in Chemistry is a whirlwind of a book that pulls the reader in from the first sentence and doesn’t let go. Garmus expertly weaves wit and humor into this tale so often full of tragedy, leading the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions.

Elizabeth Zott is most known for her role on the popular television show Supper at Six, but she’s not just a TV chef. In fact, she’s not a chef at all. She’s a chemist, explaining the building blocks of chemistry to under-appreciated housewives while teaching them how to make nutritious and fulfilling meals for their families and maybe also teaching them that they, and their dreams, are worthy and valuable.

But she didn’t start her career on a television set. She has a Master’s in Chemistry, and began her work at Hastings Research Institute, where she battled sexism, plagiarism, and an overtly toxic atmosphere daily just so she could continue her work in abiogenesis.

Don’t let the word chemistry in the title or words like abiogenesis discourage you from picking up this book; it is not your high school chemistry class that made you cry in frustration (that wasn’t just me, right?). Here, the chemistry aids the plot in the best way: it adds depth without making the reader’s eyes blur with incomprehensible words and topics. The presence of chemistry in this book is inherent to the character; it’s how she thinks, how she processes the world, and how she finds the determination to persevere despite the great odds stacked against her.

This book is full of unforgettable characters, from the protagonist to secondary characters to individuals you only meet for a scene or two. Main character Elizabeth Zott is fixed in her ways, resolute, resilient, no-nonsense, and yet immensely likable for it. And the dog! The dog named Six-Thirty, whom Elizabeth decides to teach words to see how many he can learn. I don’t want to spoil any plot points by discussing other beloved characters, but just know this book is chock-full of lovable, unforgettable characters. It is the characters just as much as the plot that make this book un-put-down-able, and one that will be highly re-read-able as well.

This is one of those books where the voice perfectly matches the protagonist. This makes reading an immersive experience, as the reader feels like they’re experiencing Elizabeth’s world firsthand despite the third-person narrator. Even scenes without Elizabeth are told in this voice, leading the reader to interpret this new information as Elizabeth would.

This novel swept me off of my feet and transported me back in time to 1960s California. I learned about things I wouldn’t have purposefully sought out, like chemistry and rowing, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I also experienced, via Elizabeth, the power of female friendship, the rarity of finding someone who views you as an equal, and the importance of standing up for what is right and facing the social consequences head-on.

Like your high school chemistry book, this book might make you cry. But with this novel, the crying will be due to catharsis, deep emotional connections and totally worth it. Unlike the authors of your high school chemistry book, Garmus is sure to make you laugh along the way. Not only that, but you’ll see the world differently and be thoughtfully considering Lessons in Chemistry long after you’ve closed the cover.

Lessons in Chemistry will be available April 5, 2022. Thank you to the author, Doubleday, and NetGalley for the advanced e-copy so that I could share my honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book because it is so different from everything I've read recently. Elizabeth Zott is a scientist - her main interest is chemistry, and being a woman in the 1960s is holding her back because of the sexism and inappropriate behavior of colleagues and bosses.
The book starts with an introduction to her daughter, a child who is smart and very accomplished for her young age. Then Elizabeth goes to settle something with another parent and ends up with a TV show. The next chunk of the book rewinds and covers Elizabeth's career and one great love, before it goes back to the beginning.
Elizabeth is truly brilliant, loves her daughter fiercely, and chooses to be a chemist making food on TV. I loved the reactions from the public to her show, and how empowering her dialogue was, especially for being set in the 1960s but lots still applicable now. The side characters in here were great, how they loved Elizabeth and did their best to support her while honoring her personality and wishes. Elizabeth's dog is amazing. The book has a great ending with nice closure.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I have read quite a few good books this year, and this one is by far my favorite of the year so far! Elizabeth Zott is a chemist. At least that's what she wants to be. But, she finds herself a single mother of Mad, and the star of a TV cooking show (how did that happen?!). I absolutely adored Elizabeth. She was no-nonsense and took no prisoners. She didn't care what the patriarchal society of the 1950s and 60s said, she was going to pave her own way with her brilliant mind. This book was full of amazing characters. I loved Calvin and their dog Six-Thirty. Calvin and Elizabeth's chemistry jumped from the page. And his belief in her from the beginning was awesome. Of course there were some not so great characters along the way, which made it even easier to root for Elizabeth to succeed. This book made me laugh, cry, and everything in between. And the way everything ties up, in my eyes, was perfect for this story. Definitely a must-read in my opinion!

Thank you to the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. It releases tomorrow, April 5, so pick it up!

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Oh my I loved this book! It's been awhile since I read something that made me laugh out loud in the best way. I loved Elizabeth Zott so much, she is by far one of my favorite female characters I have read about in a long time. I studied chemical engineering in college and have a minor in chemistry, so the chemistry talk in this book was like music to my ears. I am a big advocate for Women in STEM, so I loved reading about a woman's experiences in the field in the 1950s-60s, even though it was infuriating at points. If you aren't into science, don't let that keep you from reading this book! There is so much more to it and I know you will love it.

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I LOVED this book! The dry wit, the precociousness of Madeline, Elizabeth's no-nonsense attitude, and the truth about how women were (and still are) treated in the workplace and at home. And we can't forget the dog, six-thirty.

Elizabeth endeared me from the start. She is different from other women in the 1950s and wants to do things that men seem to think she can't. Typical of men, putting women down, sexually harassing them, and other things to try and keep them in their "place." Elizabeth will have nothing to do with it and her spirit is what draws Calvin to her. She has a no-nonsense attitude and states things plainly and doesn't put up with chauvinistic attitudes, at least not now. She might have in the past, but with age comes wisdom and she has it in spades.

Calvin has his own issues to deal with but with Elizabeth, he found his soul mate, even though he didn't make the best first impression by vomiting on her. I enjoyed the banter between these two and Elizabeth's determination to not be married or have children. But as many can attest, no form of birth control is foolproof except for abstinence. Becoming a single mother was never one of her goals and it is interesting to watch how she raises Mad and what starts her journey into a cooking show is based on the meals she prepares for her daughter that are the right amount of nutrition that she needs. After all, Elizabeth is a scientist, and all of this is science. 

I laughed throughout the book at her interactions with the different characters, how close-minded some people were, and how even women would stab each other in the back and "punish" them for doing something outside of what was considered appropriate by the standards set by society. This book is peppered with all sorts of scientific terminology and if nothing else, Elizabeth's foray into television helps to educate women and motivate them to do for themselves and not just for their spouses or children.

This is one of the best books I have read so far this year and we give it 5 paws up.

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This was such an important and impactful story. I went into this book without knowing much about it, and it wasn't at all what I expected. The main character, Elizabeth, was such a dynamic and quirky character- I absolutely loved her. Ultimately, this was a story about the societal expectations and norms of women in the 60s.

Elizabeth, a female scientist in a "male's profession," pushed back against all societal expectations, truly not caring what others thought of her career and personal choices. When she's pushed out of the lab, she ends up the star of a cooking show- a new type of show at the time.

As she uses her platform to spark change and empower women, the story of her short lived romance unfolds as well. I really loved this book- such a powerful and totally unique read! 

Thank you to Doubleday Books for my gifted review copy.

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Wow, I loved this book with my whole heart and soul. It's an anthem for all women. Dark, funny, heart wrenching. Writing and commentary so sharp it could cut glass. I want to be Elizabeth Zott when I grow up. Six Thirty the dog is officially one of my all time favorite narrators of a book ever. This book really just has it all and I want to believe in this world where an uncompromising woman can come out on top. I can't wait for the show!

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I wasn’t at all sure what to expect going into Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, but I was too intrigued by the unusual premise of a female scientist becoming the beloved star of a popular cooking show to pass up a chance to read and review this book.

The story is set in the 1960s and Elizabeth Zott is a woman ahead of her time. She’s a brilliant scientist, by far smarter than every man she studied with or worked for, but the scientific community at that time was dominated by males and misogyny. No one wants to give her the time of day and even worse, many of her colleagues seem to go out of their way to try to discredit and degrade her every step of the way. I adored Elizabeth. Not only is she brilliant, but she’s also stubborn, resilient, and downright inspiring in the way she refuses to let these men hold her back. I loved her strength and her belief that if she just worked hard enough and smart enough, that somehow she would get the recognition she deserves.

The one man who believes in Elizabeth’s brilliance is Calvin Edwards, a fellow scientist who Elizabeth falls in love with. Their relationship is a bit nontraditional in the sense that Elizabeth doesn’t believe in marriage, but married or not, it’s clear the pair are soulmates, which makes it all the more devastating when Elizabeth ends up a single parent raising Calvin’s child by herself. Again she finds herself belittled and demeaned by the men in her profession, and again Elizabeth is determined to succeed in spite of them, which is where the cooking show comes into play.

A TV producer, who happens to be a fellow parent at the school Elizabeth’s daughter attends, is fascinated by Elizabeth’s unique and quirky, no-nonsense personality. He convinces her to host an afternoon cooking show geared towards housewives, and has no idea what he gets himself into because in true Elizabeth Zott fashion, she turns the show on its end. I really loved what she did with this show and found myself rooting for her every step of the way because what she creates is an environment that educates, celebrates and empowers women, reminding them of their self-worth in what is often a thankless job, that of being a homemaker and raising children.

Lesson in Chemistry covers a wild variety of topics and while Elizabeth’s delightfully quirky personality makes for some hilarious moments, overall the story is a pretty serious one, tackling weighty issues such as misogyny and sexual abuse. I found myself very passionate as I was reading about Elizabeth’s experiences, cheering her on but also just so angry on her behalf because of the way she is mistreated so badly by those who want to keep her in her place.

With its many layers and the unforgettable Elizabeth Zott, Lessons in Chemistry is an absolute gem of a book.

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What an interesting journey this story proved to be. A smart and entertaining women's fiction tale chronicling the journey of the quirky and brutally honest Elizabeth Zott. This brings a lot of heartfelt truth to the forefront of which woman of all ages can relate. Zott is brilliant in her logical, no-nonsense, scientific approach to life that seems so simplistic but bucks every cultural system and norm giving her trouble at every turn. Her reverence and fortitude are admirable through it all though making her an important heroin. The storytelling of Bonnie Garmus is so refreshing in this book perfectly structured and flows seamlessly. From beginning to end, I was hooked into the life story of Zott and her companions, each of whom brought a certain charm to the story. This book was nothing like I expected making it that much more wondrous to read. I learned some powerful lessons from Elizabeth Zott through the lovely written lens of Bonnie Garmus and I'm so thrilled to have taken the journey. I highly recommend this story; expect the unexpected and enjoy.

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For being a debut novel, this is FANTASTIC!! I loved everything about this book and I found myself sharing funny little snippets with my husband when he heard me cracking up.

Elizabeth Zott is not like other women. An average woman is found at home, being a respectable housewife, taking care of her family and the household duties and obeying her husband. Elizabeth points out that there’s no such thing as “average” and she’s determined to show that women can have a mind of their own and actually use it!

But life isn’t that simple. Elizabeth ends up being an unmarried single mother, something of a scandal at the time. But Elizabeth works to show not only those men who try to keep her down, but other women as well, that women are fully capable of doing everything men can do.

I’ll say, there’s usually one thing in a book that I don’t like. It could be something little that doesn’t change my overall thoughts of the book, but with this book, I absolutely loved everything about it!

There are some taboo issues that people at that time didn’t talk about (even some people today don’t talk about), such as sexual assult, pre-marital sex, adultery, death, child abuse, and a couple other issues. But what I really liked about this book is how the main character dealt with these issues as they came up in her life. I suppose many women would withdraw from things, but not Elizabeth. She faced things head on and overcame many of the obstacles in her way.

If you love stories about strong women, this one's for you! This is by far my favorite book I’ve read this year.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is out Tuesday, April 5th. Thank you to NetGalley and DoubleDay Books for the advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest review.

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It's been a long time since I read a book I literally couldn’t put down.

"Lessons in Chemistry” is a stunning love story, set in a time not very long past when women had no agency in a male dominated society. Elizabeth Zott, scientist, lover and mom, is a total misfit in her world. She is ambitious and smart, and loves chemistry. Disappointed and abused time after time in her early career, she finally finds a niche, and a man who is honored to support her work. Her happily ever after is not to be.

I desperately wanted to change the trajectory of this story at the 1/3 mark. But Zott’s life went on, and after an almost unbearable amount of time she began to find other good people, the kind people, who want her succeed.

I loved the quirky supporting cast, including the intelligent dog and the ultra-smart daughter.

A heartfelt 5 stars for this debut novel.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review! This book was a fantastic debut! It was smart and hilarious. I really enjoyed these characters and how unique they were! There is some heavy themes but i loved the strong women we get to spend time with!

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I loved this book by Bonnie Garmus! The writing is great and so were many the characters. This story was fun, unique, interesting, entertaining, sometimes sad, yes romantic and more. Elizabeth Zott is a chemist back in the early 1960’s when not as many women worked and certainly not as many in professional careers. She has to deal with being overlooked simply because she’s a woman, sexual assault in college and the workplace and more as she tries to achieve her goals no matter the many obstacles in her way. If you were in the workplace during the 60’, 70’s and early 80’s you can most likely relate to much of this. But don’t let this heavy topic put you off, because this story is anything but. Elizabeth Zott seems to be able to handle anything thrown her way with super human skills, and yet we discover she is human after all. I even laughed several times and thoroughly enjoyed it. I received an early readers copy in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher.

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I went into this book expecting a rom com/humorous fiction but what I found was a profound work of brilliance! Yes, there were laugh out loud moments as well as eye dabbing moments. It was the underlying theme of feminism and strength that blew me away. The MC Elizabeth Zott is a woman who does not make excuses or apologies for standing up for herself in a man’s world in the 1960’s. She’s an unwed mother by choice who refuses to be defined by societal norms. As an independent & uncompromising woman, she encourages other women to embrace the person they are meant to be and not what a magazine recommends.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for gifting me a digital ARC of the debut novel by Bonnie Garmus - can I give more than 5 sparkling stars?

In the 1960s, Elizabeth Zott is a chemist - unusual in those days and she has the battle scars to prove it. No one takes her seriously or gives her credit. Except for Calvin Evans, another unusual brilliant chemist. It's the perfect love story, until tragedy strikes. Elizabeth soon finds herself a single mother and the reluctant star of a hit cooking show, Supper at Six. But Elizabeth can only be one thing - herself - and not everyone is happy about that.

Gush alert - I loved, loved, loved this book and these characters! I love quirky characters and this book is chock full of them - including the dog! This takes you back to a time when women were expected to stay at home and do what they were told and Elizabeth bucked that trend from the beginning. While there are definitely some difficult subjects, the humor in this book is laugh out loud, spot on, perfection. You will not be able to put this one down - nor should you! Highly recommended - amazing debut. Can't wait to read more from this author but how do you top perfection?

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Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant, highly educated scientist in the 1960's, only problem she is a women. She is working in a field where she is NOT taken seriously or valued for her ground breaking work. Its at her employer, Hastings Institute, she meets her match in the LOVE of chemistry, Calvin Evans. Evans doesn't disregard her intellect, eventually falls head or heels for her and she him.

The Institute holds special meaning for Evans, one he's not shared with his family. His life led him to California, this institute and a passion for rowing. His daughter, Mad (Madeline), raised in an unorthodox scientific manner, soon begins to seek answers to fill in the gaps on her father's side for a family tree school project.

While she is unraveling the mysterious background of her dad, her Mother has become a national phenomena with her cooking show - Supper at Six. Her show incorporates all elements from her scientific background to cook a fun, filled family dinner. I would totally be a devout viewer of this show!

This lesson is everything for the reader. This novel serves-up a tremendous amount of humor, love and grit to overcome. And, who wouldn't adore a dog named six thirty who knows more than 900 words. Lessons in Chemistry is a STUNNING debut novel by Bonnie Gramus.

"Children set the table. Your mother needs a moment to herself."

Thank you Doubleday Books for the advance reader copy.

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Elizabeth Zott is a force to be reckoned with in work and life but constantly finds herself not being taken seriously by her male counterparts. Not one to conform to society's standards and constantly having to prove herself time and again, she manages to accomplish many things considered unsuitable for women in the 1960s. She’s definitely ahead of her time.

This book had an interesting take on the working woman and how it was a struggle for women to gain recognition in the workplace. I was so involved in the storyline that I became enraged as Elizabeth kept getting taken advantage of throughout the book. Even though she is portrayed as a strong, independent woman and seems to do just fine taking care of herself, I found her character slightly frustrating. She seemed to be harboring a lot of baggage, yet because of her surroundings, she needed to maintain a tough facade and wouldn’t allow her genuine emotions to show. This made for a character that was extremely hard to relate to, even though I was still rooting for her in the end.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the premise and the characters but would have loved to see a more developed ending as the rest of the book was so well thought out. But overall, this was a solid book.

The publisher provided ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Campy, quirky, loveable, and infuriating all work well to describe this book. Full of men taking credit for women's discoveries or just ignoring and underestimating them and women struggling to be seen and respected for what they bring to the table (and not just the dinner table!). In the middle of all this is a gem of a character in Elizabeth Zott, a chemist but through the course of a series of events ends up hosting a cooking show. Move over Alton Brown's Good Eats because I want to watch Supper at Six!! I was surprised by how far into the book I was before the cooking show even comes in to play, but that is because this story is about so much more than a cooking show. The show is just another example of how ridiculous men viewed women's accomplishments. Elizabeth isn't your classic feminist, she just knows her worth and is going to do all she can to be noticed for it. Like Elizabeth, every other character in the story has been crafted in full color with their own quirks and contributions to the story, even the ones you love to hate. This story will be sure to put a smile on your face and will be a great book for a vacation or stay at home break from reality!

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What a unique, quirky and fun book to read!
Lessons in Chemistry follows Elizabeth Zott during the early 1960’s. She is a female chemist and is not well accepted by the men. She should be getting married and having babies because that is what women do. Well, they do not know Elizabeth Zott!
The love story is beautiful and heart wrenching. With a highly intelligent dog and child thrown into the mix, you can not help but love this story.
You must get this book to read! There is so much going on within the story! To even try to give it the review it deserves is impossible.
A true lesson on how strong and determined women can be, could be and should be!
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This is a great historical fiction read with themes that easily speak to the hurdles women still have to jump through in order to be "successful". I really enjoyed our main character and her resilience.

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An absolutely stunning story of a woman who perseveres through the most horrific of experiences working in a highly misogynistic, patriarchal, society, specifically the field of STEM in the 1960s.

Elizabeth Zott’s story is a reminder of why women are enraged with the toxicity of a patriarchal society, the horrors of what the generation of glass ceiling shattering women had to face, and the importance of continuing to make changes in a much progressed, but still needs a lot of work society.

An enraging, heart breaking, tear inducing, beautiful story.

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Elizabeth is a chemist, and a damn good one at that. Not that any of her coworkers or her boss would tell you that of course. In their eyes she is there to grab them coffee, not that it stops them for going to her for help and then pretending they didn’t. When Calvin sees through all their comments and gets to know Elizabeth, the two quickly realize their chemistry is off the charts. they fall madly in love but suddenly Elizabeth finds herself a single mother, fired from her job for being pregnant out of wedlock, and trying to understand this newborn she never planned for. She has to do what she has to do in order to survive so when a cooking show opportunity comes up, Elizabeth decides to mix her love of chemistry with cooking.

This book was infuriating. This book was delightful. Weird to start off with those two sentences right? So let me take a step back. It was infuriating because of the way that Elizabeth was treated in the Science world. Through school, into the workplace, ugh it was all just so anger inducing, though not untrue for the 1960’s. Besides that, this book was an absolute delight. Quirky yet lovable characters, both in Elizabeth and Mad, and even Harriet and Miss Frask. Elizabeth is the woman we all wish we would be if we had been grown woman in the 60’s. She does not let people walk all over her, she is better than that and she knows it. I loved how the different webs of the story all connected, and while chemistry (not my subject) was talked about a lot, it wasn’t too science or over my head! This was not on my radar until Kray and Janine picked it for @notyomamasbookclub and I am so glad they did!

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✨ Review ✨ Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
"Take a moment now to admire your experiment. You've used the elegance of chemical bonding to construct a crust that will both house and enhance the flavor of your constituents."

Elizabeth Zott dared to be a chemist in the late-1950s and early-1960s, and a series of sad and discriminatory actions left her trod open and disrespected. Zott's actions again and again subverted cultural and gender standards of this era, and yet, she continued to stand up for her convictions. She ultimately ended up as the host of a cooking show "Supper at Six," where she taught women cooking skills alongside lessons in chemistry.

Genre: historical fiction / women's fiction
Location: California
Reminds me of: Frederick Backman meets The Maid
Pub Date: April 5, 2022

I LOVED this book - the writing style was so quirky and distinct that it reminded me of Frederick Backman, as well as sometimes The Maid in the ways that Elizabeth Zott could be a bit obtuse (intentionally obtuse I thought). The writing was beautiful and had me hooked in! The stories of Elizabeth's daughter Mad and dog Six-Thirty were so delightful!

I also found this really resonant as a woman in academia - it spoke to the historical context of the 1950s and 1960s and the bravery of women in charting a path forward for female scientists, academics, and more. But it also spoke to women in science and academia today - battling discrimination, lower pay, sexual harassment and assault, belittling behavior, struggles juggling home and family life, and more. This book made me fume in places and laugh in others as I pondered both the progress and lack of change in these fields.

My only two critiques are that 1) the jumps in time or between characters sometimes confused me as I tried to figure out what happened; 2) this is a story that's grounded in white feminism with little intersectional focus...while this reflects the historical moment, it feels like something worth noting.

Read this if you like:
⭕️ The writing of Frederick Backman and The Maid
⭕️ Learning more about women in science
⭕️ Quirky characters and brilliant dogs
⭕️ Stories about found family

Thanks to Doubleday and #netgalley for an advanced digital copy of this book!

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