Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry

A book titled Lessons in Chemistry sits on a bookshelf surrounded by other books. The book has a bright pink/orange cover with the title and author, Bonnie Games, in turquoise letters. In the center of the book is a drawn image of a woman's head, her blond hair in a bun with a pencil stuck in it. She is wearing glasses.

I love it when I discover a really good book. A book that captures my attention from the first page, is smart, entertaining, and full of wonderful characters. It’s an extra bonus if I learn new things in the process of reading and even better if reading gives me a glimpse back into history to see how far we’ve come (Another of my favorites, Love & Saffron, does this well, too!). It’s even better if the book includes some food science and a lovable dog. LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY, a debut novel by Bonnie Garmus that came out in early April, ticked all of these boxes for me and then some.

This though-provoking novel manages to be fun to read while tackling big issues at the same time. It has been one of my favorite books to put in the hands of customers at Content Bookstore (the indie bookstore where I work). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having customers tell me that they love the book, too. LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY is stirring things up so much that it’s even being turned into an Apple TV+ series!

What do I love about LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY? Read my mini book review below!

Here is my mini book review of LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus

Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant, hardworking chemist in a 1960s world that wants her behind a typewriter or in front of a stove but decidedly NOT in a lab making a living as a scientist. In order to support her family (Zott’s an unwed mother – gasp!), she ends up the star of Supper at Six, a cooking show which the no-nonsense Zott makes decidedly unique by taking her viewers seriously and talking about ingredients in chemical form. (Her audience of “normal housewives” love her. The male station boss does not.) Add to the story Zott’s highly intelligent daughter, a nosy neighbor/best friend, a doubting minister, and a dog named Six-Thirty who takes his job of Protector and Learner of Words very seriously and you have a story that is unlike any other I’ve read. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, infuriating, smart, surprising, heartbreaking and hopeful. It’s a book about being taken seriously and how good people (and one extraordinary dog) can build each other up. So sharpen your #2 pencils, women of the 2020s – LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY is for you!

It was great fun for me to come in to Content to work one day a couple of weeks ago to discover I had mail. And not just any mail, this was a letter from the UK with a stamp of our recently departed Queen Elizabeth. Who on earth could be writing me form the UK, I wondered.

I opened the envelope to discover a card…

Even though the front of the card said “Lessons in Chemistry • Bonnie Garmus” it didn’t click with me what I was getting in the mail. A card. An actual card from the UK! A card from the person who wrote one of my favorite books!

Excited, I opened it up to find the most delightful note from the LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY author herself, Bonnie Garmus, thanking me for my support of the book. This card made my day and was a delightful surprise. Thank you, Bonnie!

I think you will find yourself delightfully surprised if you read LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY. I hope you do!

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Myrna CG Mibus


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