Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry

by Bonnie Garmus

1 out of 5

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.

But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take 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.

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.

Elizabeth Zott is a scientist struggling in a man's world, but ends up finding herself as a popular TV cook, as she adds science to the kitchen.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think I read a different book from everyone else.
As a huge fan of Mrs Maisel, and someone with a passion for science, this seemed like a perfect read for me!

Unfortunately, it completely lacked humour.

It also had some hard-hitting parts that could have done with trigger warnings.
I only got a third of the way through, but it starts with the vivid rape of our main character. It also brushes on suicide, homophobia, various psychological abuses as children, bullying in the workplace, death of a loved one...

I know that these topics and funny stories aren't mutually exclusive, but there wasn't a single fucking funny line or moment in what I read.
It was like a poorly written tragedy.

I didn't particularly like or dislike Elizabeth. I found her very bland, full of feminist ideals, rather than actual character traits.
The only thing that stood out about her was her stubbornness. 
Her levels of stubbornness were fine to begin with, but it quickly got tiring, that she doesn't want help, and she wants to do everything on her own. She's so naive to the world around her, but won't listen to anyone's advice. It's no wonder she doesn't have any friends.

Her partner Calvin is equally bland. We're told that he's temperamental and holds grudges, but he's completely banal.
For someone who is built up to be socially awkward, and never had a relationship, is of course the perfect partner; perfectly attuned to Elizabeth's every need.

Between the two of them, it felt like they were constantly trying to one-up the other on counts of misery. It was one shitty thing after another without any gleam of humanity or hope, and after trudging through a whole third of it, I couldn't go on.


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