Have you heard about Lessons in Chemistry yet? This book, released in 2022, was at the top of all the lists. It was talked about everywhere. It was so popular that I put it on my Christmas list without actually knowing much about it. So, if you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, you should.
From the beginning I will admit, that I didn’t love this book until I did. It took a few pages to decide that I wanted to finish. But after about 50 pages, Elizabeth drew me in and I couldn’t put the book down. And ever since I finished it, I keep thinking about Elizabeth Zott and her life in the 1960’s.
(Seeing that Lessons in Chemistry was set in the same time period as part of The Unfortunate Life of Genevieve Ryder, I wish I could have read it sooner. I think that if I had read it while I was writing, it would have influenced some of Gen’s life.)
From the flap content: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.
There is a lot to discuss when it comes to Lessons in Chemistry. Elizabeth Zott is a fascinating character and the story that follows is worthy of discussion. As is my pattern, we start with three questions to begin conversation, three questions that help build camaraderie, and three questions that help grow compassion. Use some, or all, of these questions to discuss this book with a book club or just with friends.
- Did you like the book? Did you like Elizabeth Zott as the main character? Can you truly enjoy a book if you don’t “love” the main character?
- What minor character did you love the most?
- Elizabeth sees the way Chemistry influences everything–from making a good cup of coffee to the perfect chocolate chip cookie. After reading this book, did you see the chemistry in the stuff of every day life?
- Lessons in Chemistry is set in the 1960s. How does the time period constrain the story? Could this story have happened in another time period?
- Elizabeth faces discrimination in her workplace. How does she handle it? What happens to her? Ultimately, how is justice found?
- Elizabeth doesn’t understand why her cooking show elicits such a response from viewers. What need in women does her show expose?
- Unexpected grief comes early in this book. Do you agree with the way that Elizabeth handled her grief?
- Elizabeth does relationships differently than others expect her too. Did you relate to the how she managed her relationships with other people? Why or why not?
- What “Lessons” did you learn from this book? What can you learn from “Lessons of Chemistry”?
This is such a great book. You should totally read it.
Want to read it now? Here is a button where you can get your copy.