Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry


Bonnie Garmus’ “Lessons in Chemistry” is a popular book in the literary world, quickly becoming a fan favorite after becoming a Good Morning America book club pick. It is also a favorite of Truckee High’s librarian, Sara Gooding.

Set in the 1960s, “Lessons in Chemistry” follows Elizabeth Zott as she struggles to find validation as a woman chemist, despite the pressure of her colleagues to take up more traditional roles. 

Gooding loves to recommend this book to fans of Chemistry and Gender Studies. 

Elizabeth is a true heroine. She created an extraordinary life when no such path existed for women during that time period.” 

Gooding refers to Elizabeth’s accomplishments in the scientific field, and her success in the film industry after being cast in a housewife cooking show. When on the cooking show, Elizabeth would use chemistry terminology, inspiring many women who watched her show to learn about science. 

In fact, some of those moments were Gooding’s favorite parts. “The cooking sections of the book were super entertaining. The author created a fictional cooking show that infused chemistry and cooking. It’s a brilliant concept!

What seals the deal on the five star review Gooding gave the book was her favorite character, a dog named Six-Thirty. While readers will have to discover the origin of his name, it is no spoiler that he is one of the reader’s favorite characters. “The author personified him, so you can hear his inner dialogue. He’s so charming and loyal,” Gooding said.

“Lessons in Chemistry” is very well written. It is funny and infuriating all at the same time, as you continue to read about the sexism the main character faces daily. It has unconventional storylines, even while following similar themes and tropes of other books. 

Readers who enjoy women’s studies should definitely read it, and although the chemistry is downplayed a bit, the research effort put in is reflected enough to engage readers knowledgeable in chemistry. 

Fans of the author Marie Benedict’s “Only Woman in the Room” and Maria Semple’s “Where’d you go Bernadette” would enjoy this book. 

Rating: 4.5 / 5