Lessons in Chemistry

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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.

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Lessons in Chemistry
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Guest a year ago

I am not sure why this book is on best books of the year lists everywhere. I thought I will end this worst reading year (in more than a decade) on a good note but ended up reading the most boring book of this year. It’s not funny or interesting. The characters don’t even behave realistically. Good looking smart woman in love with a very smart man, perfect love story with a tragic end blah blah. Half of the book isn’t about her teaching chemistry on TV at all. Even the chemistry teaching part was like watching paint dry. The characters look like cardboard cut outs of nerdy people. I wish it were more realistic. It isn’t even funny. It is just a sappy boring romance between two boring characters and about rowing, probably the most blah sport imaginable. Feminism part also looked forced as if the author was shoving it down our throat with the protagonist acting like a crazy woman. I slogged for like 150+ pages to see if things get interesting and then ended up skimming the rest. Way too boring.

Guest a year ago

"Imagine if all men took women seriously. Education would change. The workforce would revolutionize. Marriage councillors would go out of business."

I adored this book and everything about it. It's a wonderful look into female roles and how society viewed them in the early 60's. But more importantly, it shows how one does not have to fit the mold that society deems appropriate.

Elizabeth Zott is a scientist. Unfortunately, she's also a woman so she's not taken seriously. Until she meets Calvin Evans, who falls in love with her brilliant mind and their love is true chemistry. But life has other plans for Elizabeth Zott and her daughter Mad, including single motherhood, a cooking show, discovering Calvin's mysterious past and turning the misogynous scientific works upside down.

I want to stab some of the male characters with Elizabeth's sharpened No. 2 pencil. The author has written them well and you can feel the frustrations of many women before us. (Actually, I could stab some of the female characters who buy into their bullsh!t too.) But there are also plenty of supporters who become family along the way. Her wonderful neighbour, her frazzled producer, a preacher she's never met and her super intelligent dog, Six-thirty (god I loved that dog ❤️), who all become a motley crew who help each other get through.

I'd like to believe that things weren't as bad for women back then but there's plenty of stories to add weight to it. We're not quite there yet but things are definitely better. A big winner for me.

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