ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



May 2023



Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
People who like a really well-plotted, well-written books that have some truly unexpected moments.

In a nutshell:
Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 1950s and 1960s, when women aren’t really allowed to be. Or at least, not supported to be. This is the story of her life, and how it intertwines with others.

Worth quoting:
“…and one who went along because she, like so many other women, assumed that downgrading someone of her own sex would somehow lift her in the estimation of her male superiors.”

“Courage is the root of change — and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.”

Why I chose it:
When enough people mention a book …

What it left me feeling:

I don’t tend to use a lot of trite expressions in my book reviews. At least, I don’t think I do. But my goodness, I want to use all of them. I devoured this book. It’s nearly 400 pages and I read it in two days. I didn’t want to put it down, and was annoyed when I had to do things like get off the bus, or go to sleep, because that meant I wasn’t able to keep reading.

This book is special. The main characters are not ‘likeable’ but they aren’t not likeable. They don’t exist for us to project our feelings onto – they are their own people, who are flawed and who experience things in life that are not fair. Especially the focus of the book, Elizabeth Zott. She is brilliant, and she is stymied at every turn by men and women who feel threatened by her.

But there are also men who believe in her, and support her, and women who believe in her, and support her. And she works to help other women believe in themselves, and change their lives.

The book isn’t all an upward trajectory; there are some very dark moments. There is sexual assault. There is death. But there is also a very sweet dog, and a precocious child, and people who care for others. Ultimately this is a book that shows what people are capable of – the good and the bad. I loved it.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend and Keep

1 Comment

  1. Leigh Haddix

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