Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry

Your ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here.

Bonnie Garmus ~ Lessons in Chemistry


Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the 1960s, and despite the fact that she is a scientist, her male peers are very unscientific when it comes to equality. The only good thing to happen on her road to professional fulfilment is a run-in with famous colleague Calvin Evans, legend and Nobel nominee. He’s also awkward, kind and tenacious. Theirs is true chemistry.

But life is never predictable and three years later Elizabeth Zott is an unwed, single mother and star of America’s best loved cooking show Supper at Six. Her singular approach to cooking – ‘take one pint of H2O and add a pinch of sodium chloride’ – and empowering message prove revolutionary. Because Elizabeth isn’t just teaching housewives how to cook, but how to change their lives.


I loved the synopsis of this one and was super excited when it was the March pick for Grazia Book Club.

It’s very readable, with a good pace, that allows us to get to know the characters throughout the story.

There are some stand out moments, including the TV show Supper At Six – something I would watch today – and Six Thirty the dog. Hearing his perspective on events provides an additional layer to the story and he is a fantastic character. Harriet is also wonderful and her opinions on the Zott family are enjoyable.

While I may be in the minority when I say I didn’t like Elizabeth (especially her choice of literature for her daughter), I admire her tenacity, although at times she does seem naïve. However, her use of NaCl instead of salt did make me smile!

It is a little predictable, with a lot of coincidences, but at its heart is a strong message of female empowerment and motherhood.

We may think we’ve come a long way when it comes to how women are treated in the workplace, but reading this reminds us that there’s still lots more to do.

On a side note, I’m a huge fan of Brie Larson so can’t wait to see this come to the big screen! 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I received a copy of the book from Grazia and Double Day Books for Grazia Book Club. Opinions my own.

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