Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
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.