Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Thank you to Alison Barrow of Doubleday for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of this debut novel. The book will be published in hardback today in the UK and Waterstones have a special edition available. I’m sharing a mini review today.


our ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here

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.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take 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.

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.

My thoughts:

It may only be early April, but I’m finding it hard to imagine that I will find another book character this year to topple Elizabeth Zott from being my favourite character of 2022.

Elizabeth is determined to live her life her way, despite the social limitations being placed on her in 1960’s America. She is a highly intelligent scientist, but no one cares, because she is a woman.

I enjoyed how the story evolved, her relationship with Calvin, finding Six Thirty, becoming a mum, turning her home into a mini lab, encouraging women to think about their future.

Sometimes I felt sorry for Elizabeth (you may need a box of tissues handy) but at other times I was cheering her on. I’m thrilled to hear that there will be a TV adaptation for those people who don’t reading books (there are a few!) but if you love reading, then please read or listen to this amazing book. It is time to meet Elizabeth Zott.

Author Bio:

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked for a wide range of clients, in the US and abroad, focusing primarily on technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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