Cover Image: Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book early. 

I was surprised to see that the majority of early reviews of this book are positive and 4-5 stars. I found this book to be largely average. There were a few points which hit too close to home in terms of the sexism and attitude towards the heroine but overall this didn't feel like a completely captivating story and the characters weren't quite engaging enough to keep me hooked. Elizabeth Zott's character is purposefully reserved but this unfortunately also keeps her distanced from the reader themselves. I always felt like there was a wall between myself and Elizabeth and I felt like I understood more about her dog, Six-Thirty than herself or even Calvin. 

Six Thirty himself brings me to my next issue with this book. It felt like it was lacking in focus at times which was very prevalent in large sections of the book which were narrated from the dog's perspective. I fully expected the final reveal to be that it was his story rather than any of the human characters since he seemed to be the most accessible and fleshed out character. It also felt like an attempt to throw all these moments at the reader showing off blatant 50s sexism - which admittedly did leave me bristling with anger - but sometimes it felt like it was at the expense of the story itself. Of course, these moments are what move the plot along but I didn't feel like they were really plot "points", rather a show of "hey remember how you used to be fired for being pregnant". As a feminist, of course this book made me angry, but I could also pull away from the fact that it's set in 50s white, suburban America which is a different landscape to what I know today. There is no mention at all of any issues people of colour or LGBTQ+ faced during this time. It is very straight, middle-class, suburban, and white. 

Whilst the idea of this story intrigued me, it did not quite live up to the standards I had for it. It's a fine book, it's alright, I'm not sorry that I read it. It's just not really anything special. I gave it 3 stars for it's mediocrity.
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A quirky and sometimes tragic read. I enjoyed the love affair and how it empowered both the male and female.
Well written and a powerful book, particularly for women.
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Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry is a delightful book set in 1960s America. Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant scientist struggling to advance her career due to the attitudes of her fellow male scientists in The Hastings Institute. After a confrontation with TV producer Walter she finds herself the host of a cooking show where she cooks using science techniques. 
This book is a lovely, heartwarming read. It is both humorous and sad as it deals with sexism, religion, grief and love.  
The main characters of Elizabeth and Calvin are interesting and brilliant but a bit one dimensional, however this doesn’t take away from this quirky & lovely book.
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Thank you for allowing me to read this book early. I thoroughly enjoyed every second. The strength of the main character, the relationship between herself, her partner, her daughter and friends was completely believable and I was behind her every step of the way, Oh and the dog was the cherry on top! I am not scientific in any sense but I also enjoyed the inclusive of chemistry. Very much enjoyed :)
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Encore, Encore, I need more of this. It is an incredible story. If you like different, this is for you. If you like excellent writing, this is for you. I want everyone to read this. The opening chapter is bizarre in the most hypnotic way. By the time I had read the first six sentences, I was mesmerised by every word that followed. Of course, my brain was still trying to keep up with the uniqueness of the dialogue. This wasn’t how people I knew got up. My stomach did a little flip. I already knew that this would become one of my all-time favourite books, that I will read, time and time again. I wasn’t wrong.

Set in the 1950s and 1960s, Elizabeth Zott had an incredible scientific mind, but it wasn’t welcomed. She scared male scientists because women were only capable of, running a home and having children. Because obviously, women brains were not like a mans. But they wanted her ideas, theories and explanations. If it came down to it, no one would believe that the ideas were hers.

I chuckled when she met the love of her life. What an amazing couple they were. They were the perfect match and quite before their time. Elizebeth could achieve incredible things so long as she could break them down scientifically. 6.30 is an incredible character, and yes, that is his name. Elizebeth and Calvin, her partner, shared their tragic life stories. And it makes you love them both, but there was worst to come. Much, much, worse.

This is an epic journey, an incredible story that made me laugh, feel frustrated, angry, cry and punch the air. I need more, but I know there won’t be any. It is unique. It is Elizebeth Zott.

I wish to thank the publisher and Net Galley for an e-copy of this book, which I have reviewed honestly.
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Words cannot convey how much I adored this book. It's going to be a huge, huge hit when it's released next year. The way that Bonnie Gamus writes is faultless, every word is used wisely and the depiction of Elizabeth, Mad, Calvin and Six Thirty was perfection. Elizabeth is a fabulous feminist heroine whose battles are still relevant today, and her tragic love story with Calvin was beautifully depicted. A special mention needs to go here to the way in which the Reverend, the rowing coach and Elizabeth's boss at the television station were written about - absolutely brilliant. And I adored Six Thirty, surely the best canine character in fiction. I cannot recommend this book enough, I had to ration my pages as I didn't want to finish it. Amazing.
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I absolutely loved this book and can’t believe it’s a debut novel!
Set in the 1960s Elizabeth Zott who is not only an extraordinary lady but a fantastic chemist encounters an untold amount of sexism in her workplace and is underestimated in a huge way but the story goes on to show just what a strong protagonist she is.
With fabulous characters (especially the dog called Six-thirty who is at times a hilarious narrator himself), it felt like such a unique, original read with a ton of warmth, humour and quirky-ness as well as a strong message running throughout.
I can not recommend it enough!
Thanks to netgalley for sending it to me.
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Lessons in Chemistry is a quirky, funny and absolutely delightful read. It was different to anything else I have read lately and totally engaging. I believe it is going to be a very big hit and I am going to be telling everyone to read it. (I have already started today by highly recommending it to another book reviewer.)
For a book to make me laugh out loud and then shed a tear, it has to be totally absorbing and special. It was, plus. I don't want to give anything away, but the characters are all larger than life and you will love and hate them as required. And there is one of the best portrayed dogs I have ever encountered. I absolutely adore the dog! 
Have I gushed enough? If not, then I will gush some more. This is one of my top reads of 2021 (and I have a read a LOT of books this year!) It is absolutely charming. A huge FIVE stars from me.
Thank you and good luck to the author and the publishers. I am so lucky to have had the chance to read an early copy via @NetGalley. I will definitely be buying this for friends.
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Thank you for approving my request! I devoured this in two sittings after a massive reading slump over the last few months. I didn't expect this novel to be funny, feminist, and with a nice romance plot. Nigella was right about this one!
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Lessons in Chemistry is an absolute must-read. It is set in the period between the 1950s and 1960s and follows the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant scientist who finds herself single, pregnant and out of job. When an opportunity presents itself, Elizabeth takes an offer to host a cooking tv show but, believe me, this short summary is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is funny, witty and full of dry humour that adds to this poignant and sentimental story. The relationships are strong, the women even stronger and this really highlights feminist issues and traditional values back in the 50s/60s. The first half is a sweet love story, funny, quirky and very intelligent. The second half is more challenging for Miss Zott and sees her take on a very tricky TV role. Elizabeth Zott is too clever, too modern and all about science.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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Lessons in Chemistry is my favourite book of 2021 (even though it isn’t actually published until 2022) so far, and its first-place podium is so far above the nearest next-placed that it seems unlikely to be knocked from this spot before the year is out.

It perfectly sums up the frustrations of a woman trying to get on in life in the late 20th century, understanding she has to be there for her family, but feeling as though she is underachieving for herself, her potential, and any benefit to mankind, and all the while knowing with absolute certainty that she is undervalued by society as a whole and that society doesn’t even care. It is a shout-out for every woman who was ever labelled ‘difficult’ for having an opinion, for refusing to kowtow to male bosses (actually, any bosses) with less intelligence, for not simpering and blushing at scant praise, for not just doing as she was told in the face of blind stupidity. 

But, more than that, it’s engaging, laugh-out-loud funny, sad, warming, exasperating and real! I felt I knew and could identify with every one of Garmus’s characters – and not just because I’ve seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory – so brilliantly are they written, so enthusiastically do they leap from the page.

I only wish this book had been written thirty years ago. Set as it is in the 1960s, I would hope that the lessons in this story would seem quite alien to today’s school leavers, but, as a mother to two adult women still trying to make their way, I’m not so sure. It should be compulsory reading for every father of girls and for partners and husbands of women trying to juggle their responsibilities while carving out a career in any male-dominated industry. It should teach them the difference between real support and patronising indulgence.

If I have any criticism at all, it is that the author has wimped out on the ending [SPOILER ALERT – look away now if this bothers you] and written a denouement where our heroine ultimately has to be rescued from her predicament and uncharacteristically abandons her hitherto sort-it-out-for-herself attitude to most of her life’s situations.

Bravo, Bonnie Garmus! I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
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Loved the characters and the story, it was a great page-turner that kept me up until the wee hours. 
Couldn't recommend it enough!
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This could just as easily be called lessons in life. Funny and sad, a picture of small town prejudices and larger than life characters ( including a dog) captivate the reader. Men hold all the cards and women have to put up or shut up. This is the 50’s and 60’s and women don’t have meaningful roles in the workplace, they also are expected to tow the line in every other way, sometimes at the expense of self esteem, let alone the lack of equal pay and opportunities. 
I read this through in almost one sitting, I was so enthralled with the characters, and the language flows effortlessly from page to page. Be prepared to cry and laugh out loud, it’s one of the best things I’ve read in ages.
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Really no words I write can do justice to this excellent  book which I wish had been out when I was 18-20 (30 years ago).  It is a plain honest look at sexual discrimination and the power of one woman (and in reality there are many Elizabeth Zotts to question the authority of the patriarchy) to  change how women are seen, perceived and treated. The integrity of our protagonist never wavers during her childhood, adulthood, career as a scientist, and later as a TV Chef/personality.
The brilliantly woven events in Elizabeth’s life, how she manages them and how all the ‘loose ends’ are tied together at the end of the book, make this the ultimate page-turner, 
I was fully invested in Elizabeth’s life, attitude and refreshing honesty regarding views on marriage, women’s roles and career, and as I read more of her story, I was more and more impressed. Set in the 1950s, Elizabeth’s opinions make for an interesting slant on the views upheld by her peers, even the women. 
This a book which I will be highly recommending to everybody. 
Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review  
Ten stars!
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Charming and witty book! Elizabeth Zott is a scientist in the 50s/60s, struggling against sexism inside and outside the workplace. Interesting characters and an amazing dog kept me reading until 2 a.m.
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I can remember when this book was acquired and the subsequent announcement about Brie Larson playing the lead character in an adaptation, and I wondered if it would live up the the hype. It did that and then some! This is a book that is full of life and heart and is so cinematic it would be a crime not to adapt it. The characters are so quirky and memorable and the whole setting is imaginative and full of energy. It’s just beautifully written in a peculiarly American way. I adored it!
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I loved the book. I fell in love with Elizabeth, her quirks, courage, determination. The story unravelled through various points of views of the characters which layered perspectives. Quite a page turner!
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Wow oh wow absolutely loved this book. Not normally into books set in the past but I have smiled, laughed and cried my way through this book. The attitudes, the characters and everything resonated with me.
Brilliant story, fantastic characters, can't rate it enough.
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This is an unusual and fascinating book set in the 1950s to 60s that tells the terrible truth about sexism in those days in a witty and unusual way. The female characters are feisty and strong and the dog, six thirty, an inspired witness and participant in all of the fun. In some ways it reminded me of a John Irving book - funny and a bit daft but with sadder and more serious undertones.
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There's not much to say other than - this is the perfect book. My favourite read of 2021 thus far. Spunky and joyful, I was devastated to turn the last page knowing that my time with Elizabeth was over. I cannot recommend this enough.
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