This novel has the perfect molecular structure: a charming protagonist, humor, a lovable dog, and feminist bonafides.
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Why I love it
Author, The Most Fun We Ever Had
I am grateful for books always, but especially lately, these last—well, couple of years now, when all I want is to be elsewhere, doing something interesting in the company of people who make me happy. So I was especially grateful to find myself in the world of Elizabeth Zott and Lessons in Chemistry, a cheerful, cinematic, whip-smart novel about finding one’s family and the ongoing fight for gender equality. (Also, cooking! And television! And teaching dogs how to read!)
Why did I love this book? It’s shrewd and vibrant and carefully plotted. But most of all I loved it because reading it made me feel good, hopeful even. Lessons in Chemistry is, in addition to being a very funny novel, refreshingly earnest, a word I use carefully and as a high compliment. This is a book that is complicit with its reader and takes care of her, allowing her to walk away from it feeling optimistic about being a person in the world.
And did I mention Six-Thirty? He’s one of the best fictional dogs I’ve ever encountered. Honestly, I felt a superlative affection for almost every character in this book and continued to think about them—and root for them—long after I finished reading. In short: it’s a fabulous novel. I hope you’ll read it and relish its companionship as much as I did.
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.