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Friday, June 17, 2022

Review: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus
Narrated by Miranda Raison & Pandora Sykes

Thanks to Random House Audio for this delightful gifted audiobook.

Publisher: Random House Audio
Publish Date: April 5, 2022
11 hrs, 55 min
Genres: Historical Fiction, Contemporary

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.

My Review:

Chemistry, feminism, cooking, a precocious daughter and the small views through the eyes of Six Thirty make this quite an interesting and delightful listen.  Was this "laugh-out-loud funny" as the synopsis dictates - definitely not (at least not for me) but there were definite moments where I enjoyed the dryness of it all.

Elizabeth is a character who is very sure of what she thinks and what she will stand for.  Now the 60s weren't exactly screaming equality for women and it certainly wasn't doing it in science but because of people like Elizabeth, look where we are now. And she rows?  I would love to see that erg machine she had and see how it compares to the machines of today.  Let's see what the adaptation, that supposedly is coming, shows us!  

I would totally watch Supper at Six.  I think. I love cooking shows and how Elizabeth turns her cooking show into a place to help women rise (and keep to her roots in chemistry)... well, this is just a testament to her character.  She already knew dogs could understand more than we give them credit for (see how we have animal 'talking' buttons' these days?).  Six Thirty (their dog) and Mad (the daughter) are by far my favorites and is what brought *some* levity to this somewhat very serious book.  (Could we get Elizabeth to enjoy and laugh a bit more, eh?)

For the most part, I loved this book and what lessons it was teaching us.  However, I didn't expect it to be so serious and wanted the laughter it so promised. That being said, I couldn't stop listening and love that this story stemmed from the author having a very bad day at work dealing with sexism.  And as a debut? Hell yeah, Garmus!


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