Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Read Time:3 Minute, 24 Second

In the early 1960s, chemist Elizabeth Zott works with an all-male team at Hastings Research Institute, except for Calvin Evans who falls in love with her mind. Later, Elizabeth becomes a single mother and stars in a cooking show, where her unconventional approach to cooking proves revolutionary. Her following grows, but not everyone is happy as Elizabeth is not just teaching women to cook but daring them to challenge the status quo.

Book review of Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry is a fantastic book that is highly enjoyable to read. It features a strong, intelligent, and determined female protagonist, Elizabeth Zott, who is both inspiring and relatable. Her struggles and triumphs are engaging and well-written, and the supporting characters are all entertaining and well-crafted, even the more unsavory ones. The book is also filled with witty and humorous moments, making it an enjoyable and uplifting read.

The writing style is excellent, with a wonderful balance of wit, humor, and heart, and the author has done an excellent job of bringing the fifties and sixties to life. The themes of the book are timely and important, focusing on the struggles that women faced in male-dominated fields during that era and the importance of standing up for oneself and one’s beliefs.

The book provides a historical perspective on the ’50s and ’60s, with a focus on women’s issues. Elizabeth’s struggles to be taken seriously in a field dominated by men are realistic and will resonate with many readers. The one person who believes in her abilities is Calvin Evans, a noted chemist and Elizabeth’s soulmate. Their relationship is complex and fascinating, adding another layer to the story.

While the book is well-written and enjoyable to read, some parts require a suspension of belief. The characters sometimes feel like symbols rather than real people, and the ending becomes frenetic at times. However, these minor flaws do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

One aspect of the book that may spark conversation is the portrayal of men and religion. The author takes a hard-line approach, suggesting that “every” male in a position of authority during that time was a misogynist or rapist, and every person who believes in God is a criminal, pedophile, liar, or hater. While this may not be accurate or fair, it is an interesting perspective that will prompt discussion.

Final verdict

In conclusion, Lessons in Chemistry is a delightful and engaging book that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and women’s fiction. Elizabeth Zott is a fantastic protagonist, and her story is both inspiring and entertaining. The supporting characters are well-developed, and the writing is wry and poignant in turn. While the book may not be perfect, it is still a creative and interesting read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.

Our Score


  • Engaging and well-written characters: The characters in “Lessons in Chemistry” are complex, engaging, and well-written, making the reader invested in their stories and rooting for their success.
  • Historical accuracy: The book does a great job of portraying the societal norms and attitudes towards women in the 1950s and 60s, giving readers a glimpse into a bygone era.
  • Empowering message: The book delivers an empowering message for women, encouraging them to challenge societal norms and pursue their dreams, no matter what.


  • Heavy-handed approach: The book can be heavy-handed in its approach, at times feeling like a diatribe against men and religion, rather than a nuanced portrayal of the challenges faced by women in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Some unrealistic plot points: The book includes some plot points that feel unrealistic or implausible, requiring a suspension of disbelief from the reader.
  • Disappointing ending: While the book is engaging and well-written, the ending can feel frenetic and somewhat unsatisfying, leaving readers wanting more closure or resolution.
Lessons in ChemistryPublisher ‏ : ‎ Doubleday; First Edition (April 5, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 038554734X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385547345
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.58 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.39 x 1.38 x 9.56 inches

About Article Author

Marcus Wright

Marcus Wright is an avowed serializer and bibliophile. His perfect weekend plan is a series marathon followed by reading a good book. Optimistic by nature, he is always able to see the bright side of things.
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