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Review of Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

*****5 stars

I enjoyed this book. I felt it was charming and featured both funny and sad parts. The characters were well depicted, especially Elizabeth Zott, the chemist turned TV cooking star, and her dog Six-Thirty. I thought it was a nice touch to show the feelings and thoughts of the dog.

This bestselling novel takes place in the 1960’s when it was believed that a woman’s place was in the home and most women didn’t work. If they did, it was as teachers or secretaries. Elizabeth Zott followed a different path. She went into science and met her lover, Calvin, a fellow scientist, on the job. Their first meeting was when she stole some beakers from his office. Their second was even less complimentary as he threw up on her. But when they finally get together, they realize how much they have in common, including unhappy childhoods. Calvin had been an orphan, but his adoptive parents were killed in an accident and then he lost the aunt who took him in, so he ended up at an orphanage.

Without revealing the rest of the story, which has several twists, Calvin and Elizabeth don’t marry because she prefers to be an independent woman and wants her work considered on its own merits and not on Calvin’s. A turn of fate leaves her alone with a daughter, Mad (short for Madeline), and a dog, Six-Thirty. Both are quick learners and quite precocious. They end up helping Elizabeth after she’s fired from her job and is offered one as a cooking show hostess. While the producers have something else in mind, she steers the show toward the chemistry of which food is composed. Housewives love her, but men are not so happy because the advice she doles out along with her scientific recipes encourages their wives to go back to school, stand up to them, and live their own lives.

The ending is happy and features a twist that made sense but that I didn’t expect. This is a different type of book but one I certainly recommend to readers.





I'm a retired librarian and the author of the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, poems, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, SEA SCOPE, MEMORY MAKERS, TIME'S RELATIVE, MEOWS AND PURRS, and MEMORIES AND MEOWS. My Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing consists of 6 books: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED, and SNEAKY'S SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY AND OTHER COBBLE COVE STORIES. My new Buttercup Bend series published by Next Chapter Publishing includes THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY and THE CASE OF THE PARROT LOVING PROFESSOR. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My poetry appears in the Nassau County Voices in Verse and the Bard's Annual. I'm a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

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