Lessons in Chemistry, a review by Di

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Bonnie Garmus

Penguin Random House Canada, Doubleday Books
April 5, 2022
400 pages

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This is one of the most enjoyable and unique books I have ever read. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.

The book starts in the 1950s, one of my favourite decades. The star of the book is Elizabeth Zott. And, she IS a star. She is a scientist, fighting to find her spot in a man’s world. We follow her life…..her involvement with a fellow scientist, single motherhood and being a reluctant star of a cooking show. Her thought process is black and white, very logical.

And then, there is Six Thirty, her dog who is a faithful companion. The dog voices his thoughts by sharing them with the reader. He is a bit of a wise guy. Yes, the dog is a character in the book and it works.

The storytelling style in this book is very unique. Parts of it are dry and witty. Parts of it are sentimental and emotional. And parts are sarcastic. None of it is flowery or overly descriptive. It is not necessarily realistic, but it IS very entertaining and enjoyable. And, it covers a very serious issue, a woman’s place in the universe, society, the work world. How every achievement had to be fought for. Despite the fight, often it is a lost battle.

I usually characterize books as plot-driven or character-driven. In this case, the characters drive the plot. Elizabeth, Mad, Harriet and Six Thirty are all strong and unforgettable characters. Perhaps Mad and Six Thirty are a bit unrealistic but I will not forget them.

And, there was a perfect ending for a wonderful book. A little emotional but perfect.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an Advance Readers Copy to me.

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