Lessons in Chemistry

I absolutely loved this book! I found it completely endearing and utterly unputdownable. I went in blind, not knowing what it was about (and I am kind of glad I did). It is the 1960’s and Elizabeth Zott is a single mother and chemist, turned cooking show host. Through a series of happenstance, she found herself hosting an a rather groundbreaking cooking show, Supper at Six. The show is feminist and empowering– and it might just change the world, if Zott’s critics don’t get to her first. The sexism that she encounters at times (there is a TW for sexual assault) is brutal, but she perseveres through tremendous amounts of adversity: all with a very endearing straightforward sense of humor. I found Zott to be such a charming lead, but the rest of the characters are wonderful too. You really just love them all! There is her brilliant daughter Madeline, her next-door-neighbor turned pseudo-grandmother/babysitter Harriet, the local priest, the producer of her show who becomes a great friend to Zott and her family, and Zott’s boyfriend (Madeline’s father) Calvin Evans: the lonely but brilliant Nobel prize-nominated scientist at her research lab. But also, their (incredibly intelligent) dog, Six Thirty. I think Six Thirty was my favorite character. This book is all at once funny, sharply observant, and feminist. It will break your heart at times and warm your heart at others. It has been compared to Where’d You Go Bernadette and I definitely see the similarities but liked this one even better!

Author: Bonnie Garmus