Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus Book Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • ONE OF NPR’s BEST BOOKS OF 2022

A must-read debut! Meet Elizabeth Zott: a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).


“It's the world versus Elizabeth Zott, an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms, and I had no trouble choosing a side.... A page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty.” —Maggie Shipstead, best-selling author of Great Circle

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.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus Book Reviews

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Great plot, character development, flow!

We read this for our book club (to be discussed in a few days). I really couldn’t put it down. Not to give any spoilers, once I got about midway through the book, I was laughing out loud for many chapters. Love when that happens with a book. The author certainly has a way with dialogue. I’m going to recommend this book to all my friends. Looking forward to future novels by this author.

I read 250 pages of this book, and I didn’t care what happened to the characters

Didn’t want the book to end. To all the young aspiring female scientists take a page or two out of this book for inspiration.

Women’s rights and changing role is society is without a doubt important topic. Unfortunately the book handles it with rather primitive and caricature-like characters and gimmicky plot that tries to incorporate every woke stereotype possible, while slapping a thoughtless happy ending. No depth, and style the is more fit for a summer flick rather than handling complex social issue

This book touched my soul. Every emotion was authentically unraveled within me - the reader. Enjoy.

The strength and vulnerability of the main character, during a time when women’s paths were blocked and their voices choked out, was both inspiring and discouraging. Discouraging because with recent political events and the Trump administration women and humanity have moved backwards. Inspiring because it’s a reminder of where we’ve come from and how we can uplift each other to gain back loss ground and move forward to a sooner future. This was an intriguing and meaningful read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

So much depth

I wish I could rate this 100 stars. SOOO good and so important to shed light on the sexism women have had to endure. Brilliant!

If only Elizabeth had been around early in my career, when I could have used a role model. Glad to know the Zotts are here for women now; even happier they aren’t needed as much as they were a generation or two ago.

A great reminder of what women went through in a effort to be respected prior to the women’s movement.

Such an incredible read!!!!

The author is overly flippant around loss. It’s one thing if you can pull it off but her character development isn’t up to par for that.

The writing is so engaging, I chuckled all the way to its heartwarming end.

Cute, Light Read. Dumb and Stupid Cover. I lived this tine period. And even then smart women did not dress dumb.

I loved this book from start to finish! It had everything….. from humor, to history regarding women’s journey for equality, to actually learning a lot about chemistry in cooking! I think this would make a great movie! Shelley from MN

Enthralling. Very entertaining.

This is the best book I've read in years. Thoughtfulness, intelligence, truth, love, chemistry. Women and men all have much to gain from this insightful and heartfelt novel.

Funny, instructive and charming (despite the heroine of the story!), Lessons in Chemistry was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I laughed, I cried - and I was reminded that things really do happen for a reason. Loved it.

This book was amazing! It brought out so many emotions while reading it. I started off angry and had to put it down for a moment. I’m glad I picked it back up. This book shows the power of women to keep moving forward when so many were trying to hold them back.

I really wanted to like this book. It had a great premise and was honestly an interesting read. However, there was so much bashing of God and religion it was off-putting. Also, multiple male characters in the book were rapists or pedophiles or just downright jerks so it made me feel sorry for the author and what her life experiences must have been.

An interesting concept, rave reviews, supposed to be “laugh out loud funny”, (no, not) 1950’s; I bit the hook. The only character I could like in the story was the dog. He, at least, was a kind creature. I could only take so much male-bashing, faith & religion-bashing & overall “woke-ness” before bailing. Great writers throughout the ages have managed to find a way to enlighten the world about wrongs in society through brilliant storytelling. This is most definitely not that.

I enjoyed reading. Nicely done

This story is relevant today. It is about a woman living in a deprived world who stands up to authority to demand respect. It is told in a witty and wonderful story full of love, humor, and strength. A fun read that I would recommend

Really enjoyed this book. The characters were unique and memorable and the plot engaging. Stayed up late to finish.

Awesome page turner! Loved the storyline

This book was wonderful; inspiring, funny and full of emotion. Elizabeth is a character we can all aspire to be like in some way.

I can’t believe I’m saying this about a novel- but- Inspiring. Really. Loved it.

I loved it so much!

This was a great tale of Women's empowerment and I bet multitudes of people skip it by because of the insipid looking cover which seems to depict a ditzy pretty blond with red lipstick and a bouncy pony tail. This is a complete misrepresentation and was probably designed by a man or a woman who did NOT read the book! Put lab glasses on her at least!

Thoroughly enjoyed this quirky read along with each and every character.

What a treat this was to read — wit, insight, and great writing all rolled into one. Recommended for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

4/5 stars Very entertaining with an unique point of view during a critical turning point to our culture. Interesting characters, interesting plot and interesting approach to story telling. Hal R

I literally could stop reading, laughing, cheering and emotionally crying from the moment I started at 3am until just finishing at 1:06pm on a truly miserable rainy Sunday this book was fantastic! I just can’t de-swell puffy eyes!

Fiction at its best. Writing is fabulous and great page turner. Laugh and Cry while cheering for the characters.

Absolutely fabulous!!!! This is definitely one of the best books of the year! Laughing and crying all the way; wonderful, memorable characters, incredible prose and the dog: Six-Thirty!!! I’m IN LOVE with all of it! Don’t miss it!🥰

Interesting from beginning to end. It’s about the chemistry of food, of love, and of friendships. It’s also about the struggle of women in science and life—not so long ago. It’s a beautiful book. And fun to read.

I didn’t want to put this one down. So good!

One of the best books that I have ever read. All of the characters are well developed, but Six-Thirty, I salute you.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is my favorite book so far this year and, I dare say, one of my top 20 reads of all time. It has everything I could ever ask for in a book and more. It's timely, poignant, witty, and empowering. I could easily read it repeatedly and find small nuances that make it even more special. The story's first half puts the book in time and place, explaining a point in our recent history that most of us were not around to remember. It paints a 1950's world that is incredibly misogynistic, where women were made to feel like inferiors in every way. But along comes Elizabeth Zott, who does not buy into the social norms. Her journey to becoming a chemist is so poignant and horrifying it moved me in ways I can't even begin to explain. Reading the first half, I couldn't believe that people called this story funny because I was not laughing. I was angry for Elizabeth and had a low opinion of every male in the story except for Calvin. Calvin was the one man who respected and encouraged Elizabeth at every turn. Even when he didn't understand things like her reluctance to marry, he accepted her and her thoughts and feelings unconditionally, being happy just to be with her. Their story brought me to tears more than once. Then along comes the second half of the book, where the wit and wisdom had me chuckling my way through to the end. Happenstance leads Elizabeth and her daughter, Mad, on a journey that still empowers me when I reflect on it. Elizabeth became a tv personality, a chef who used cooking to teach chemistry to women everywhere. And, by sticking to what she believed in - by not giving in to the powers that be that wanted her to bend to the social norms - she not only taught women who had been told they were not intelligent enough to understand such complex topics as science, but she empowered them to follow their dreams, and they did! Her power as a tv personality brought about changes that made me smile, and the way she did it tickled my funny bone. The ending was not that big of a surprise, but I loved it, nonetheless. It is the perfect ending to an imperfect tale full of hardship, degradation, and a voice that needs to be heard. Technically, the story keeps a reasonably fast pace and immerses the reader from the very first page. It stays focused most of the time, only straying when a back story needs to be told, as is narrated from a third-person perspective. Elizabeth is my favorite character, followed closely by her dog, Six-Thirty, and daughter Mad. Six-Thirty stole my heart on more than one occasion. He's the dog everyone would love to have, but nobody does. All of the characters are so well-developed that even if you can't relate to them, you can feel emotions because of them. If you are looking for a poignant and witty reflection on what it means to be a woman, Lessons in Chemistry will give you that and more.

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Awesome page turner! Loved the storyline

This book was wonderful; inspiring, funny and full of emotion. Elizabeth is a character we can all aspire to be like in some way.

I can’t believe I’m saying this about a novel- but- Inspiring. Really. Loved it.

I loved it so much!

This was a great tale of Women's empowerment and I bet multitudes of people skip it by because of the insipid looking cover which seems to depict a ditzy pretty blond with red lipstick and a bouncy pony tail. This is a complete misrepresentation and was probably designed by a man or a woman who did NOT read the book! Put lab glasses on her at least!

Thoroughly enjoyed this quirky read along with each and every character.

What a treat this was to read — wit, insight, and great writing all rolled into one. Recommended for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

4/5 stars Very entertaining with an unique point of view during a critical turning point to our culture. Interesting characters, interesting plot and interesting approach to story telling. Hal R

I literally could stop reading, laughing, cheering and emotionally crying from the moment I started at 3am until just finishing at 1:06pm on a truly miserable rainy Sunday this book was fantastic! I just can’t de-swell puffy eyes!

Fiction at its best. Writing is fabulous and great page turner. Laugh and Cry while cheering for the characters.

Absolutely fabulous!!!! This is definitely one of the best books of the year! Laughing and crying all the way; wonderful, memorable characters, incredible prose and the dog: Six-Thirty!!! I’m IN LOVE with all of it! Don’t miss it!🥰

Interesting from beginning to end. It’s about the chemistry of food, of love, and of friendships. It’s also about the struggle of women in science and life—not so long ago. It’s a beautiful book. And fun to read.

I didn’t want to put this one down. So good!

One of the best books that I have ever read. All of the characters are well developed, but Six-Thirty, I salute you.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is my favorite book so far this year and, I dare say, one of my top 20 reads of all time. It has everything I could ever ask for in a book and more. It's timely, poignant, witty, and empowering. I could easily read it repeatedly and find small nuances that make it even more special. The story's first half puts the book in time and place, explaining a point in our recent history that most of us were not around to remember. It paints a 1950's world that is incredibly misogynistic, where women were made to feel like inferiors in every way. But along comes Elizabeth Zott, who does not buy into the social norms. Her journey to becoming a chemist is so poignant and horrifying it moved me in ways I can't even begin to explain. Reading the first half, I couldn't believe that people called this story funny because I was not laughing. I was angry for Elizabeth and had a low opinion of every male in the story except for Calvin. Calvin was the one man who respected and encouraged Elizabeth at every turn. Even when he didn't understand things like her reluctance to marry, he accepted her and her thoughts and feelings unconditionally, being happy just to be with her. Their story brought me to tears more than once. Then along comes the second half of the book, where the wit and wisdom had me chuckling my way through to the end. Happenstance leads Elizabeth and her daughter, Mad, on a journey that still empowers me when I reflect on it. Elizabeth became a tv personality, a chef who used cooking to teach chemistry to women everywhere. And, by sticking to what she believed in - by not giving in to the powers that be that wanted her to bend to the social norms - she not only taught women who had been told they were not intelligent enough to understand such complex topics as science, but she empowered them to follow their dreams, and they did! Her power as a tv personality brought about changes that made me smile, and the way she did it tickled my funny bone. The ending was not that big of a surprise, but I loved it, nonetheless. It is the perfect ending to an imperfect tale full of hardship, degradation, and a voice that needs to be heard. Technically, the story keeps a reasonably fast pace and immerses the reader from the very first page. It stays focused most of the time, only straying when a back story needs to be told, as is narrated from a third-person perspective. Elizabeth is my favorite character, followed closely by her dog, Six-Thirty, and daughter Mad. Six-Thirty stole my heart on more than one occasion. He's the dog everyone would love to have, but nobody does. All of the characters are so well-developed that even if you can't relate to them, you can feel emotions because of them. If you are looking for a poignant and witty reflection on what it means to be a woman, Lessons in Chemistry will give you that and more.

Bonnie Garmus - Lessons in Chemistry Comments

About Bonnie Garmus Wiki

Lessons in Chemistry is an upcoming drama television series based on the novel of the same name. It is due to debut in 2023 on Apple TV+. Premise A female scientist in the 1960s begins using a cooking show she is hired to host to educate housewives on scientific topics after she is fired from her own lab. Cast Brie Larson as Elizabeth Zott Lewis Pullman as Calvin Aja Naomi King as Harriet Slone Stephanie Koenig as Fran Frask Patrick Walker as Wakely Thomas Mann as Boryweitz Kevin Sussman as Walter Beau Bridges as WilsonProduction It was announced in January 2021 that Apple TV+ had issued a straight to series order for the show, with Brie Larson set to star in and executive produce. The series began production by August 2022, with Lewis Pullman, Aja Naomi King, Stephanie Koenig, Patrick Walker, Thomas Mann, Kevin Sussman and Beau Bridges added to the cast. References External links Lessons in Chemistry at IMDb.

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