Share This:

Book Review of Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry

Neelam Sharma
Author: Bonnie Garmus



To sum it up, “Lessons in Chemistry” is a testament to Elizabeth  Zott’s unyielding spirit. It’s a book that proves resilience and a burning desire to embrace your talents and worth can triumph over any obstacle. So, grab a copy, buckle up, and embark on this extraordinary adventure. Trust me, it’s a journey you don’t want to miss.


Oh boy, hold onto your hats because “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus is an absolute rollercoaster ride! Picture this: a super ripped, brain-tickling, laughter-inducing adventure starring yours truly as the thought-provoking leading lady. This dazzling debut takes you deep into the wild world where women fought tooth and nail to break into male-dominated domains. Brace yourself for a feminist point of view, cleverly disguised with Bonnie’s unique voice. Trust me, diving into the pages of this book is more than just a guilty pleasure—it’s a whirlwind journey through Zott’s struggles and surprisingly fulfilling escapades in life. So buckle up and join Elizabeth Zott, as she conquers it all with a dash of fun, a sprinkle of intrigue, and a whole lot of girl power!

“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus. It’s the kind of book that makes you go, “Why didn’t I find this sooner?” You know those stories that feel so real, where you’re totally invested in the characters’ lives and desperately want the best for them? Well, that’s exactly how I felt diving into Elizabeth Zott’s world in this smashing debut!

With every turn of the chapter, I found myself thinking, “I hope Elizabeth gets everything she desires. I hope she lives her dream and gets the recognition she truly deserves.” Of course, there were moments when I got a bit frustrated with her, as she could be less emotionally rigid and resistant to opening up to Calvin. But as I delved deeper, I began to understand the reasons behind her actions.

Her childhood and past experiences moulded her into this no-nonsense, high-calibre woman who refused to get caught up in petty gossip or put on a façade. She was all about making a real impact and breaking barriers in a world where women are often overlooked. And boy, did she face some battles! The struggles she endured and the gender biases she fought against were oh-so-real.

Ah, I’m wondering what caused me to get so emotional. Nah, it’s not that.  As a woman with a strong voice (yep, feminism all the way!), I have always admired how certain narratives tend to overshadow others with their uncanny ability to put across their essence brilliantly. And yet, in this particular novel, which commences in 1961 with the introduction of Elizabeth Zott, a 30-something single mother, it became evident that Bonnie Garmus meant business through this smashing debut of hers.

In an era where perhaps women were only objectified without any real importance, here was Zott, a research scientist by training and yet a star host for a TV cooking show for housewives titled “Supper at Six”, a position that was more of a strange turn of events for her and not ideally something she had opted for in the first place.

Yes, what she did envision, alongside Calvin Evans, the love of her life, was something else. A great PhD that she wanted to pursue, the discoveries she was poising her work toward, and all the great work in the field of STEM, which again is considered a male-oriented domain. Little did she know that life would throw a curveball her way, all alone in the lurch in this grotesquely brutal world, with nothing but a baby to survive alongside, eventually threatening to put her dreams to a standstill, owing to the need to prioritize a living and bringing up the baby sans any support or help.

Yes, there was pain behind Elizabeth’s ardently toughened demeanour that perhaps had always been of the no-nonsense, high calibre, which did not believe in the usual gossipy disposition or just painting itself all over, but rather involved herself in something more constructive and groundbreaking.

So, on a serious note, tell me, guys—don’t you agree that her stoic persona and rigidity here are justified by the kind of abusive atmosphere she works in?

 The gender battles she fought each day, the struggles—they were for real, right? 

Even the episode of molestation at work was something that shook me out of my comfort zone, as I was by then very keen for her to proceed to what she was truly skilled at. Her excellence and merit did not have to be ostracized by the usual “chauvinistic” bestialities that have hounded our society for ages. And yet, I marvel at how she, although had to retract from her pursuit at that point, did not give in. Bravo Zott!

See, got my point? In a book review like this, here I am, having just gabbed herein until all about the protagonist Elizabeth, barely scratching the surface of how the writing is beyond excellence, how the comical relief is well timed and on point, and how all characters—be it Zott, Madeline, Frask, Harriett, Walter Pine, Donatti, or Parker—have been virtually carved into the narrative, seamlessly making them support it stupendously, making us even more accustomed to the plot at all times. They have all been markers of one aspect or another as far as the main idea goes. So, be it the manner in which Zott finds an unlikely ally in Frask, her office colleague, a brilliant neighbour in Harriett, or the typical boss in Donatti, Hastings’s head, there are multiple hues Bonnie manages to extricate from each of them at several points.

To sum up this lengthy musing of mine for you guys today, this book is all about this lady of steel, who, in spite of others’ (all around her) efforts to push her into a space that was less than acceptable to her, fights off all such pursuits, only to eventually follow and succeed towards her own, towards the end. Pssst, even her eventual showdown with Parker in the last chapters of the climax was a real tearjerker, TBH. Yes, the fierce Zott too needed a shoulder to break down upon, and don’t we all at some point? This is a brilliant, exceptionally great book that needs to be read. First things first, right now, because, trust me, you guys, you would have missed life if Zott had not happened to you. Not a novel with a feminist tone, as it is being touted to be by some, but rather a story of how resilience and a stalwart desire to do justice to your own skill and merit can help one surpass all in life, is the true essence of this one. Two words for it: Happy Reading!

But here’s the kicker—Elizabeth had to raise a child on her own, without any financial support. Can you imagine the strength and resilience it took? It’s no wonder she became even more unyielding and steadfast in her pursuits. Some might say she was always like that, but I say, why shouldn’t she be? Why should women be confined to a specific mould? Elizabeth was a trendsetter, defying societal expectations and paving her own way, all while honouring her skills and refusing to let her dreams fade away.

Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the fields of entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, food, fun, finance, fashion, tech, and gadgets, as well as all things bookish.

Adios Amigos!


Share This: