Lessons in Chemistry A Novel

$ 17,00

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER • Meet Elizabeth Zott: a “formidable, unapologetic and inspiring” (PARADE) scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel” (The New York Times Book Review) and “witty, sometimes hilarious . . . the Catch-22 of early feminism.” (Stephen King, via Twitter)

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek

“The most delightful novel I read this year . . . fresh and surprising . . . I laughed out loud!”—Philip Galanes, The New York Times

“A unique heroine . . . you’ll find yourself wishing she wasn’t fictional.” —Seattle Times

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.

SKU: 038554734X
Publisher ‏ : ‎

Doubleday; First Edition (April 5, 2022)

Language ‏ : ‎


Hardcover ‏ : ‎

400 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎


ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎


Item Weight ‏ : ‎

1.55 pounds

Dimensions ‏ : ‎

6.38 x 1.4 x 9.52 inches

Best Sellers Rank:

#2 in Humorous Fiction

Customer Reviews:

67,270 ratings

Customer Reviews

1-5 of 10 reviews

  • Dave Schwinghammer

    I didn’t want to read LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY because it sounded like it was about a cooking show.That was a bit misleading. It’s really about a woman chemist, Elizabeth Zott, who agrees to be on a cooking showing because she loses her job at a research facility because she’s pregnant.When LIC shines it’s due to the characters. The most impressive to me was the dog, 6:30, who has his own point of view. He refers to Madeline, Elizabeth’s daughter, as “The creature”. Ultimately Elizabeth teaches him close to a thousand words. He can’t talk of course but he is riveted by the toddler’s baby talk and seems to understand it. My main problem with the dog is that he’s supposed to be a mixed breed. I can’t really picture him.While working at Hastings Research Facility, she meets Noble nominated Calvin Evans, and they fall in love, resulting in the pregnancy. Unfortunately Calvin doesn’t last too long due to an accident Elizabeth blames herself for.The cooking show becomes a back-up plan when a little girl in kindergarten appropriates Madeline’s lunch. It’s great and when Elizabeth complains about the girl’s theft, her father, a show manager for a TV channel, hires Elizabeth. We’re supposed to believe that the women in the audience are fascinated by Elizabeth’s chemical references. She calls salt Sodium Chloride for instance. Why?Elizabeth isn’t flattered when the show becomes a hit. She wants to be a chemist. Another person is impressed by her work as well. That’s the donor who keeps sending Hastings money to further her research on cells, actually the original cell that led to the evolution of everything. When Elizabeth meets the donor it leads to the climax of the novel.There’s lots of fifties and sixties sex discrimination going on here. For instance, Elizabeth is one of the best researchers at Hastings, but she’s given menial work. The other scientists come to her for help with their research, even after she’s fired. Then he steals her work and publishers it in a scientific magazine.This novel has been on the New York Times best seller list for at least three weeks. This one deserves it. Read it; you won’t regret it.

    December 25, 2022
  • BernieC

    This novel follows the twists and turns in the life of the heroine: Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant research scientist who is tired of being a second-class person just because she is a woman.Elizabeth is a top-grade research schemist but can’t get treated as an equal [much less be lauded for being better than pretty much everyone in her department] and when they demote her and the the department head steals her work and publishes as his own she quits.She meets her soul mate, Calvin Evans, who treats her as an equal partner and recognizes her brilliance. They get a dog and Calvin asks what they should name it. She looks at her wrist watch and says “it’s six thirty” and so it was. This is typical of her most unemotionally rational approach to everyday nonsense, for example that women should wear comfortable clothes and all the other ridiculous (and irrational) social “rules”.By a crazy circumstance she ends up doing an afternoon cooking show “Supper at Six”. They wanted the usual mostly air-headed afternoon cooking show based on the assumption that bored housewives didn’t want to bothered with substantial programming, Zott would have none of it. She basically assumed that long-underestimated housewives deserved to be treated as smart people who have been rudely sidelined and should be *taught* what cooking was all about.This makes the show’s producer go apoplectic but the show was a hit! She was right: women didn’t like being talked down to. She insisted on using “sodium chloride”. She described dished by explaining the chemical reactions that made them happen. And the viewing audience [and the women *crowding* intostudio to watch it live] loved it. Instead of having the quick death that the producer expected, it was a smash hit. It got syndicated around the country and she was a national hero — among women. They not only learned to cook the dishes and the chemistry behind it, but also that they had been treated as second class citizens.. and minds…for far too long.LIfe magazine was going to do a cover story about her and they assumed that it’d be the usual pry into their personal life and get cute anecdotes for a feel-good story about a surprising TV star. The reporter who was interviewing her got gobsmacked by her and didn’t write the article that Life expected: Despite what Elizabeth Zott will tell you, Supper at Six is not just an introduction to chemistry, he wrote that day on the plane. It’s a thirty-minute, five-day-a-week lesson in life. And not in who we are or what we’re made of, but rather, who we’re capable of becoming.I couldn’t have said it better myself. Go read this book!

    December 25, 2022
  • Mary Novaria

    Elizabeth Zott is an unlikely heroine. She’s not immediately likable and presents as a bit of a cold fish, but she relies on that facade to survive. The novel paints a brutally honest look at a time in history when only a few brave women dared to defy what was expected of them.As her story unfolds — first as a graduate student, then as a pioneering woman in the man’s world of a 1950s chemistry lab at a large research institution, and eventually as a mother — we can’t help but admire Elizabeth’s persistence and resiliency. The astonishing sexist, abusive misogyny never lets up, but Elizabeth is dedicated to science, and adjusts her life to accommodate her work no matter what.At its heart, Lessons in Chemistry is a love story. Elizabeth, who is described as extraordinarily beautiful, falls for a geeky, brilliant PhD with a tragic past, the one person who truly sees her as more than just a pretty face. She loves him. She loves chemistry. She also begins to love rowing, which serves as a metaphor for Elizabeth’s hard work and dedication.Despite the book’s serious nature, author Bonnie Garmus delivers reality to us with exceptional cleverness and has a way of finding appropriate comic relief, often at the hands — er, paws — of Elizabeth’s rescue dog and, later, from her precocious child. There is also a surprising career detour that is intellectual, I-Love-Lucy entertaining.Elizabeth is not about to be relegated to mere wifey status. She is an early feminist who refuses to be bound by convention in any way. Her grit is an admirable model for women and girls as we still scrap for equal footing in the workplace and in the world. (less) [edit]

    December 25, 2022
  • isabellesneena

    I think that parts of this book were supposed to be funny and I did laugh twice, but I also cried twice. My ex-husband recommended the book and said that he thought I would like it. I did. It was well written. I read it in 3 days because I read late into the night as that is the time I read and I have been tired! I was a scientist, but had a slightly different experience than Elisabeth. I had support from my department at NIU and got a masters in microbiology. No one said I couldn’t do something because I was female. At all of the jobs I ever had, I did not face discrimination because of my sex. I did face abuse, but I took care of it immediately, except the time when the human resource manager at one of my jobs grabbed me and kissed me at my exit interview. Both of my husbands have always encouraged me, so in that respect I was different than some of the women of my age. This was my experience, but NOT the experience of women in STEM at that time. Hope it has gotten better.While readers may not quickly understand the chemistry, it doesn’t matter. Although it can be useful in the kitchen. I will go back and reread those sections. The story is how E, her daughter Mad, her neighbor Harriet, the minister Watley, Miss Frask and her producer Walter interact and how she persevered. It is the story of an era that needs to be remembered.

    December 25, 2022
  • Michelle Johnson

    What a fun book to read! Elizabeth Zott, chemist in the 1960’s, is my new hero! Independent, confident, brilliant….what’s not to like? Well plenty in the 1960’s. Too outspoken, not willing to follow societal norms for women, doing a “man’s job” and doing it better for a start.Elizabeth’s quirky character is no nonsense and so literal, a la Sheldon in “Big Bang Theory.” And like Sheldon on TV, the reader gets to see the heart of the scientist as well when she falls in love. No surprise that her daughter turns into her “mini-me,” precocious, advanced and forthright as well. A twist of fate leads her to hosting a popular cooking show because what is cooking but chemistry? Add in a few other characters: a minister who doesn’t believe in God, a schoolmarm who abhors a thinking child, a well-meaning, nosy neighbor, and a browbeaten, medial television producer; Mix in a couple of misogynistic bullies and you get a very entertaining story. But the best character of all….Six-Thirty, a dog! The narration of what Six-Thirty thinks is as insightful as it is funny.While this charming book evokes nostalgia, it also pokes fun of the way things were. Zott makes me appreciate the real women in the world who came before me and opened the doors for us to study math, science, engineering etc.

    December 25, 2022
  • Valpoet

    This book is dramatic, eccentric, funny, and authentic. The writer touches on many societal issues by letting us into her love for chemistry. It is a love story, a comedy, a tragedy and truly believable. The writer knows her chemistry and applies it to all aspects of life and in the process makes the reader laugh out loud. I also cried in some of the parts that were true to all we know of dysfunctional organizations. I highly recommend this book. The book at the same time is filled with hope and really uplifting despite the many set backs and obstacles the narrator experiences. I found this the most engaging book I have read this year.

    December 25, 2022
  • Sandra

    It’s quirky and smart. I love the charm and the wit and the lead characters’ background info. I love the love and the twists and the beautiful warm ending. I like how the story didn’t give it away all at once, but a few themes seemed to be a bit repetitive.The audio was superb and clearly voiced. Soothing and easy to understand and follow. You could hear the crass when it was needed and the sad when it was needed.Some people didn’t love the human characteristics of the dog, but I LOVED IT. I love the beautiful blend of DNA and the true spirit of learned and inherited behaviors which can be seen throughout.

    December 25, 2022
  • Tulsa Person

    My daughter and I share an Amazon library which confuses the algorithm that predicts what our next read should be as we have very different literary tastes. She bought this book and I started to read it by accident. It turned out to be a happy mistake. I grew up in the time frame setting of this novel and have always known that women were repressed in that era, but never “felt” it in the way that this author brought it home. I also loved the depiction of 6:30’s intelligence and commitment to the family. Couldn’t put it down; this is a great read!

    December 25, 2022
  • Kate

    For a first book, I can’t say enough good things about this author. She is gifted, funny, and thorough. She brings up many instances of every day examples on how women and girls are treated. She is quite the brilliant. I can’t remember when I actually laughed out loud reading a book. It’s an excellent read as well. Clips along at a good pace. Men would like it too. They might get a tiny glimpse into what it’s like being a woman in a male dominated workforce. Can’t wait for her second book to come out.

    December 25, 2022
  • Southern Belle

    This book kept showing up on “Books you might like based on your reading interests” on Amazon but I had other things I was reading first and tend to be suspicious of bestsellers (the renegade in me probably). Parts of this book made me feel sad, parts mad, but overall I feel very glad that I read this. Being a female professional in science myself, it makes me further appreciate the strong, independent, resilient women who paved the way.

    December 25, 2022

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