Book Review: Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizaabeth 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 1960’s and her all-male team at Hastings Reseach 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.

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 challenge the status quo.

This book has been on my radar for a while now as a ‘wouldn’t that be nice’ after the storm on Twitter a little while back where everyone declared that it was a sensation. ‘Interesting’ I thought, after reading the blurb, and jotted it down on the ever-growing TBR list in my head.

So, when heading into Tesco in need of some bubble bath, a glass of wine and a bunch of flowers for myself a couple of days ago I couldn’t possibly walk past this book without getting it for my ‘feeling better’ session. While I did not read it on the allocated evening I may have made the mistake of starting it this morning instead, which was the beginning of the end for my to-do list today. Instead I read it front to back in a frenzy of glee, awe and some rather unattractive guffaws. It was hilarious and inspiring in equal parts and I found myself reading parts out to my Other Half while he was attempting to work from home. Eventually, reading the room, I relocated to a sunny spot in the garden and breathed in the story alongside the joys of the outside.

Equality is a strong theme in this book and I absolutely adored the way that the author didn’t even try to attempt to make the arguments against a woman working in science even slightly plausible. If anything, those arguments are presented in a similarly one-sided, air-headed level of ditzy as women themselves were often portrayed in the time of our story. It delights me to see the ages-old arguments reduced to silliness and short-sighted bigotry, and I want to cheer for the Elizabeth Zotts of the world who respond to those attitudes with logic and reason – Explain, in simple terms, why those rules apply to me and not to you.

I would very much like to have known more Elizabeth Zott’s in my life, but Six-Thirty may be the single best character who ever lived, and I adored the parts that were narrated from his perspective. You know, without reading the author bio at the back, that this is a person who has her own dog – not just a person who likes dogs.

I shall look forward to revisiting Six-Thirty and Elizabeth again in the near future, and recommending them to all of my friends.

Published by BeckyBookBlog

My name is Becky and I run a blog about Books

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