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Lessons in Chemistry Bets On...

Lessons in Chemistry

August 2022

There are times when I “miss” a book and play catchup. That is what I did with LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus. I think it was because a few people told me that it was similar to another book that I did not like. But then I heard raves from others. So exactly four-and-a-half months after hearing about it, I picked it up. And I found myself not just loving Elizabeth Zott and her quirky ways, but thinking about how this woman was really making strides at a time in the late ’50s and early ’60s when women’s roles were a lot more traditional. Plus, I love clever, which is exactly what this book is.

Elizabeth finds love with a fellow chemist, but only after she bursts into his lab at Hastings Research Institute to grab the beakers that she needs for her work, totally ignoring Calvin Evans --- a Nobel Prize-nominated scientist --- as a person. She is ultra-focused, most likely somewhere on the spectrum, as is Calvin. But while bonding over beakers and scientific formulas, he feels more for her --- and she for him --- and they chart a rather unusual path together. This includes rowing, which must happen in perfect harmony.

They migrate their lives together and fall for each other more each day. But when Calvin suggests marriage, Elizabeth pushes that thought away. She wants to be known for her work, not for her husband. A stray dog then wanders into their lives. He is named Six-Thirty for the time that he was found, and he, too, becomes a big part of their story. Love for them is not meant to last, and…well, I am not going to give any more away. The story is original, and I found it to be smart and fun. Yes, you do have to suspend a bit of disbelief as you read, but there is a lot to think about as well.

Book clubs, you can have a good discussion with this one. And I had such fun chatting with Bonnie. You can watch my interview with her here or listen to it here.

Lessons in Chemistry
by Bonnie Garmus

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Humor
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday
  • ISBN-10: 038554734X
  • ISBN-13: 9780385547345