Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
August 20, 2023 3:30 AM - Subscribe

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.
posted by Literaryhero (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It is a little on the nose, but it is equal parts hilarious and horrifying. The matter of fact manner that Garmus writes about the most terrible incidents made me put the book down a few times to just try and breathe a little.

Of course, as a guy, I have always had an academic understanding (for lack of a better word) of sexism and gender bias, but this book really rams it home with how it actually was (this is fiction, so they are fictional events, but they are also all too real).
posted by Literaryhero at 3:35 AM on August 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

I found this book hilarious and infuriating in about equal measure. I was never mad at the book itself, just the things that people do in it. We are not nearly as far away from those days as we should be.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was never mad at the book itself, just the things that people do in it.

Right. I totally agree, just in case that wasn't clear from my comment.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:41 PM on August 23, 2023 [1 favorite]

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