Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a captivating story that combines science, romance, and a search for equality in the early 1960s. The story follows chemist Elizabeth Zott, who faces challenges working with an all-male team at Hastings Research Institute.
Elizabeth falls in love with her colleague, has his child, and is fired due to double standards and scandal around her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Her career takes an unexpected turn when she becomes the host of a popular daytime cooking show, Supper at Six, which introduces a revolutionary approach to cooking.
The novel introduces readers to a quirky protagonist and a colorful cast of characters, including the intelligent dog, Six-Thirty, recently retired from the military. The story is an easy, quick read, laced with humor that, while not laugh-out-loud funny, maintains a cute and endearing charm.
However, it’s important to note that Lessons in Chemistry isn’t for everyone. Some readers may find its jabs at Christianity and man-bashing offensive.
It’s clear author Bonnie Garmus has found a considerable audience, though, with the book receiving a Goodreads Choice Award for Debut Novel and a nomination for Historical Fiction in 2022 (it’s also streaming on Apple TV+). The novel’s clever storytelling resonates with many readers, making it a worthwhile choice, especially for those who enjoyed Where’d You Go Bernadette?, The Rosie Project, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
** I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.