This Chick Read: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It’s the early 1960’s and chemist Elizabeth Zott has fought her way into a position at the Hastings Research Institute on an all male research team. Needless to say, she is faced with sexism and misogyny every day. When she meets brilliant fellow scientist Calvin Evans they strike up a very non-traditional (for its day) relationship, having a romantic relationship and living together without being married. They each work on their own projects and Calvin supports Elizabeth in everything she strives to be. Several years later Elizabeth is “discovered” by a television producer and she launches a new role as the reluctant star of ‘Supper at Six’, where she teaches housewives how to use chemistry to cook and opens their eyes to the possibility of life beyond the doors of their home.

Lessons in Chemistry is a very clever novel about a woman’s struggle in an age of inequality, to be seen as an equal. That just because she was born a woman doesn’t mean that her life’s purpose is to serve men. Elizabeth is much too clever to let misogyny and gender create her identity. Reading this novel, I realized how fortunate I was that my entry into the workplace wasn’t filled with men who were trying to hold me down, and that I lived in an age, while not equal was at least not filled with illegal actions. In Elizabeth Gott’s world she wasn’t quite as fortunate.

I was so interested in Elizabeth’s persona. She wasn’t your average woman, in fact her intellect was way above average, a fact that her boyfriend and lover Calvin Evans found very attractive. I found her fight for independence and equality interesting despite that fight putting her at odds with happiness in love. Poor Calvin was ecstatic to have this amazing, beautiful woman as his, yet she was so untraditional that she’d never let him put a ring on her finger. It made for a really interesting reading! When she was cast as the chef on tv, her life views horrified her bosses, yet found an audience with the women of America. She was such an interesting character!

This novel had a little bit of everything. There was a hint of romance, but it was Elizabeth’s fighting spirit that drew me to keep turning the pages. Elizabeth’s voice was strange and wonderful, and despite my living in a world where equality is much closer to reality, I looked forward to reading how Elizabeth would out smart and out fight the men who lived in the world around her. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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