Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus: Review & Summary

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend the products I love and trust.

Book Title: Lessons in Chemistry

Number of Pages:  400

Lessons in Chemistry Audiobook Narrated by:  Bonnie Garmus, Miranda Raison, Pandora Sykes

Listening Length: 11 hours and 55 minutes

Goodreads rating: 4.35  (507,523 ratings)

Published in: 2022

Lessons in Chemistry Book Summary


  • New York Times  Bestseller GMA book club pick
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Historical Fiction (2022), 
  • Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Debut Novel (2022)
  • Best book of the year: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Elle, Oprah Daily, Newsweek, GoodReads, Bookpage, Kirkus.

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. This 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.


Praise for Lessons in Chemistry

“In Garmus’s debut novel, a frustrated chemist finds herself at the helm of a cooking show that sparks a revolution. Welcome to the 1960s, where a woman’s arsenal of tools was often limited to the kitchen—and where Elizabeth Zott is hellbent on overturning the status quo one meal at a time.”
The New York Times

“Strikingly relevant…Darkly funny and poignant…Lessons in Chemistry’s excellent experiment [is] quirky and heartwarming.”
The Atlantic

“The most delightful novel I read this year—fresh and surprising—was Lessons in Chemistry: a fish-out-of-water story about a feminist hero who never stops pushing for what’s right. (I laughed out loud!)”
Philip GalanesThe New York Times

“Elizabeth Zott is going to be an important character to a lot of people . . . Absolute chemistry.”
Scott Simon, NPR

“An irresistible buoyancy, along with a deliberately sharp bite. Garmus’s novel focuses on a female scientist whose ambitions are impeded—and then rerouted—by a world not yet ready for her.”
Frank BruniThe New York Times

“[Garmus] delivers an assured voice, an indelible heroine, and relatable love stories…At the center of the novel is Elizabeth Zott, a gifted research chemist, absurdly self-assured and immune to social convention…Elizabeth is a feminist and modern thinker […] in a world nowhere ready for her mind, character, or ambition…[Garmus] charm[s]. She’s created an indelible assemblage of stubborn, idiosyncratic characters. She’s given us a comic novel at precisely the moment we crave one.”
Washington Post

“Feminism is the catalyst that makes [Lessons in Chemistry] fizz like hydrochloric acid on limestone. Elizabeth Zott does not have ‘moxie’; she has courage. She is not a ‘girl boss’ or a ‘lady chemist’; she’s a groundbreaker and an expert in abiogenesis…To file Elizabeth Zott among the pink razors of the book world is to miss the sharpness of Garmus’s message. Lessons in Chemistry will make you wonder about all the real-life women born ahead of their time—women who were sidelined, ignored, and worse because they weren’t as resourceful, determined, and lucky as Elizabeth Zott. She’s a reminder of how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.”
New York Times Book Review

Quotes from Lessons in Chemistry:

Whenever you feel afraid, just remember. Courage is the root of change – and change is what we’re chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make this pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others’ opinions of what you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion. Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future. When you go home today, ask yourself what YOU will change. And then get started.”
― Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry

Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun,”
― Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry

Sometimes I think,” she said slowly, “that if a man were to spend a day being a woman in America, he wouldn’t make it past noon.”
― Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry

Read more Lessons in Chemistry Quotes

Lessons in Chemistry The Creative Muggle Review 

So I’ve been putting off reading Lessons in Chemistry for ages, but I finally got my hands on it from the library.

And you know what? I was totally pumped to dive into this book. I mean, it’s about a female chemist, but I didn’t expect it to be this touching and funny!


The most captivating thing about Garmus’ novel is, of course, our fierce leading lady, Elizabeth. 

She is from a different time period but somehow it feels like you know her. You know how she is going to react, what words are going to come out of her mouth.

Her daughter’s characters was charming as well.

Little Mad was smart and funny. She reminds me a bit of Matilda from Roald Dahl’s world.

And then, of course, Six-thirty, he is one of the funniest characters ever.

Loved him so much. I was hooked by the story and the characters, but I can’t quite give it a full five stars (even though I wish I could).

Writing Style

The writing was really engaging and addictive.

I absolutely loved the fact that it was a fact-paced novel. There were few parts that felt a little dull, I will talk about them shortly. Otherwise, Bonnie Grams did a fabulous job of using the sarcasm and dark humour thought the book. It made me both laugh and cry at the same time.

The book captures the challenges women faced back in the 50s and 60s so vividly. Elizabeth’s unyielding determination  despite all the hurdles, was really inspiring.  

What I  Loved

You know what else I absolutely adored about Lessons in Chemistry? How painfully sad it was.

The sorrow in the book was so palpable, and it just hit you right in the feels.

It gave me a glimpse into how lonely Elizabeth felt, and I have to say, it was incredibly emotional. I also loved the ending so much. 

Areas for Improvement

The only thing I need to point out is that some parts of the book felt a tad slow.

Specifically, the chapters when Elizabeth is gearing up to host a cooking show. As much as I adore Elizabeth as a gutsy heroine, I kind of wanted to see more of her vulnerable side during those tragic moments. 

Yes, there were a few of them but I felt everything happened rather fast. 

Also the way the story bounces around in time and memories can get a bit tricky to follow.

Overall Rating/Recommendation

But despite those few hiccups, Lessons in Chemistry is a must-read.

Trust me on this one, it’s an extraordinary story that’ll leave you thinking long after you’ve turned the last page. 

The Creative Muggle Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


What to Read After Lessons in Chemistry?

If you have loved reading the story of Elizabeth Zott and looking for similar novels as Lessons in Chemistry that feature a strong female protagonist or explore themes of misogyny, feminism, and single parenthood, here are a few book suggestions.

find books similar books here : 15 Books Like Lessons in Chemistry

About Bonnie Garmus

Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open-water swimmer, a rower, and a 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. Lessons in Chemistry is her debut novel. Visit the website

Related posts:

51 Lessons in Chemistry Book Club Questions & Snack Ideas

15 Books Like Lessons in Chemistry

31 Lessons in Chemistry quotes

Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

Leave a Reply

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