Lessons In Chemistry Book Review

Book review by Dinh

4 stars


I joined a new book club this year and the ladies voted for Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus for our first read! Alas, this would be a re-read for me. I read this book already two years ago when it came out. No matter; I do remember enjoying it immensely.

How did it hold up? This time, I gave it four stars. I enjoyed it a bit more the first time round!

Here’s what I liked and what didn’t work for me:

Story Line

Set in the 1950s – 1960s, the premise of the story is about Elizabeth Zott, a talented chemist, and her journey in life in the male-dominated world. Her dreams and aspirations are more like a modern day woman – career and no kids. In each step of her career, Elizabeth is hampered and downtrodden by men. They have little respect for her and treat her badly.

One day she meets Calvin Evans a nominated Nobel – Prized chemist. They fall in love but Elizabeth’s life takes a twist after they move in together.

Find Bonnie Garmus: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Author’s Style

Firstly, I have to say that this is an enjoyable and entertaining read. Written well, it pulled me in right away, and I didn’t stop. Secondly, it was easy to read, well paced, had lots of dialogue, and short chapters. There was never a dull moment and there were plenty of surprises along the way.

Thirdly, I love Garmus’ premise of the book. Choosing to set the book in the 60s worked well for the story. The male -dominated time frame was a good setup to make Elizabeth stand out as not your average type of gal in face of adversity. In fact, Elizabeth did not conform to the norms of the time and did not want motherhood or to be a homemaker but a career, specifically a career as a chemist.

Fourthly, by making the book light and humorous, Garmus was able to touch up on some heavy themes without making them overpower the story. The gender inequality and stereotyping, which were the main themes, makes you aware that back in the 50s & 60s was very different from today. It was great for our book club discussion!

Garmus crafted a great story line, however, some of the coincidences felt too perfectly tied in. I didn’t like that everything had a purpose and it was all tied in together. Even, Six-Thirty, the dog served a purpose!


There were some wonderful characters in the book.

My favorite character was Elizabeth Zott. She’s a brilliant chemist and a likable quirky character. What I like most about Elizabeth is how formidable she is in face of adversity and hardship. Her family background history (dad in jail, mum in Brazil, brother committed suicide) did not stop her from trying to live her dream of being a chemist.

Six-Thirty, the dog that Elizabeth and Calvin adopted is my second favorite character. I liked that we get his point of view as a dog. He’s a highly intelligent German Shepard who is capable of bomb sniffing and could learn words! He’s fiercely protective and loyal.

One character I didn’t like was Miss Frask. She works at Hastings Institute in the Personnel department. Frask is jealous of Elizabeth for her beauty and brains and takes every opportunity to gloat when Elizabeth is reprimanded. She is on the side of the villains of this book but she does redeem herself in the end.


Although I knew what was coming, I enjoyed the ending. It was what I had expected and lived up to it.

My Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this entertaining, easy to read book.

Moreover, I loved the plot, which highlights how far women have come since the 1950s, and its quirky characters. Lessons In Chemistry was a great conversation starter and was awesome for our book club discussions

Get your copy here! Or listen to the audio book for free with an Audible trial!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.