Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus

Do not judge a book by its cover!

International Women’s Day is over, but I would like to recommend two books that are suitably topical. Both books have, in my opinion, terrible covers that I would not have picked up had I not read the great reviews!

Lessons In Chemistry, set in the 1960s, tells the story of Elizabeth Zott, a chemist who is fighting to be taken seriously in a world that is dominated by men. She meets Calvin Evans, also an accomplished chemist, who sees Zott for the smart and capable person she is, and they fall in love.

It is not a book of fluff by any means – we get a bird’s eye view of the sexism in the workplace, shown, in shocking detail, as well as the way society looked down on single mothers and their children at that time. There is some heavy content in this novel, but much of it is shown with a funny or sarcastic tone. Elizabeth Zott is so effervescent in her quirkiness that one cannot help being caught up in her story.

After being fired from Hastings Lab where she struggled to gain the respect she deserved, Elizabeth is hired to star in a live afternoon cooking show called Supper At Six. The station manager wants Elizabeth to cater to ‘dumb housewives’. Instead, Elizabeth teaches women the chemistry involved in cooking and encourages them to achieve greater things. She is a breath of fresh air. I could not stop reading!

This intelligent and endearing story will have you laughing, crying, frustrated, enraged, buoyant, and touched. There is an entire cast of wonderfully written characters. You will hate half of them with a passion and love the other half with even more passion. Particularly Elizabeth’s rescue dog Six-thirty.

The 2nd book that I read and loved, despite a terrible book cover, is Carrie Sotto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Read. It is also a fast read about a strong capable woman who is harshly judged, but stands her ground in the male dominated field of sports.

About Me: I am an avid photographer of frogs! When not reading outside, I can spend hours in my pond capturing their expressions.