Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Posted August 13, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review / 17 Comments

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie GarmusLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
on April 5th, 2022
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 390
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Club
Buy on Amazon

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.

You would have thought a woman in her forties would have no problem with FOMO. Alas, as an avid book lover, FOMO with regards to books, might be my greatest mental disability. You must be even worse than me with keeping up with social media to not have noticed the popularity of Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. The International sensation about a woman who refused to submit to the status quo of the 1950’s – 60’s and with her feisty personality and brilliant mind, created an I can trend with thousands of people, but especially women, across America.

I am so glad that for once, my FOMO paid off in dividends. What a marvelously joyous read! There was simply nothing I didn’t love about this book. In fact, this book will be the inspiration for a new Goodreads shelf – Perfect Books. You know, those books that are perfect in every form. From the cover to the acknowledgements and everything in between.

This book deals a lot with science and chemistry. If that’s actually the same thing, please accept my apologies. Not my field. Psychology, however, is and the Gestalt principles have always been a field that makes perfect sense to me. Especially when it comes to perfect reads. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this book’s case, the whole was perfect. But only because every little part, supporting character, event and animal were even more perfect.

Every character and every event in this book, had a purpose and the end result was a masterpiece. Very much like chemistry, come to think of it. You would have thought the vibrant Elizabeth Zott will be the most beloved and enduring character in this book. She’s just the main character whom without, nobody else would be worth mentioning. Not that she isn’t extraordinary in so many ways and a character one won’t easily forget. And without her, Six-Thirty won’t be there at all.

Oh Six-Thirty! You are my favorite character ever to be printed on paper. Yes, it truly is un-incredible how humans can’t find a needle in a haystack or manage to find their ways back home. Your wisdom, opinions and endurance will stay with me for a long time to come.

He’d once heard someone say it was important to be reminded of one’s failures, but he didn’t know why. Failures, by their very nature, had a way of being unforgettable.  


In his opinion, names mattered more than the gender, more than tradition, more than whatever sounded nice. A name defined a person, or in his case, a dog. It was a personal flag one waved the rest of one’s life. 


Say what you want about the human race, their capacity for kindness was what – in Six-Thirty’s opinion – put them over the top, species-wise. 

One of the genres for Lessons in Chemistry, is feminism. Yes, that it is indeed. But it so much more. It’s not only about women’s rights and their rightful place in this world, it’s about the ability to change. “Courage is the root of change and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.”

Essentially, this was a love story. Yes, the love between a woman and a man. But also the love between a mother and her child, the love between a human and an animal, the love between friends and colleagues and the love of oneself and what you truly believe in and the faith in just that in order to move mountains. “Religion is based on faith. But you realize that faith isn’t based on religion.” 

What will I take from this book? All the lessons in chemistry of course.

Other books that will make it to my Perfect Books shelf:

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17 responses to “Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

  1. Fabulous review. Even a social-media-phobe like me has seen this book mentioned by readers. I’m just of to treat myself to an e-book copy and then I’ll check out your other “perfect” reads too.

  2. To be honest this one didn’t appeal to me at all until your review. How can I resist a marvelously joyous read? Definitely adding to my TBR! Great review!

  3. Wow this sounds great. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for this one. It’s nice when a book just hits all the right notes like that. I so love that second cover too- I’ve been seeing it around and it draws you right in. Although both are nice.

  4. I really enjoyed this book too! It’s set in one of my favourite time periods and who doesn’t love 6:30! A wonderful review of this book Elza.

  5. Diane

    Glad you enjoyed this one so much; I thought it was great and especially liked the 60s time period.