Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

This is one of my “Bookstagram Made Me Do It” books due to so many great reviews and recommendations. What really drew me into reading this book was it’s promise to make me ‘laugh out loud’. The author is new to me and understandably so because this is her debut novel.

This story carries several themes that are relevant up until this very day such as patriarchy, women liberation, sexual abuse, loss, single parenthood, e.t.c. Set in the 1960s, it follows Elizabeth Zot, a scientist (Chemist) who is a woman far ahead of her time. It tells of how she navigates her world which is dominated by men and puts limits on what women should and can do. Elizabeth, at every point tries to stand up for herself as much as she can and in the end becomes an inspiration and influence to other women.

Despite all the strong themes explored in this story, I found it difficult to get into the story. There was something lacking in the story telling that didn’t quite get me excited or moved by much of what was going on regardless of the fact that I am a scientist and a woman. Also, I believe my expectation of “laughing out loud” were not met at all and this may have been another issue for me. Lastly, I didn’t find most of the characters relatable even if I could relate to the issues at the front burner of the story. Thus, on a general note, I didn’t really enjoy this one and it took me quite a while to finally finish it. My rating for this book is based solely on the important issues addressed in this book which in a nut-shell also shows how we have progressed as a society from that time up until now.

Since quite a number of people enjoyed reading this book, you may want to try reading it too and perhaps you may enjoy it as well. As for me, I’ll stay with my unpopular opinion.

Rating: 3 Stars

Published: April 5th 2022 by Doubleday Books (first published March 31st 2022

Pages: 400

Genre: Historical Fiction


The Author:

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who’s worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.


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