LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus
One of my favorite audiobooks of 2022 is LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY, narrated by Miranda Raison, Pandora Sykes, and the author.
Set in the early sixties, the story introduces Elizabeth Zott—a brilliant, stubborn chemist determined to succeed in a man’s world. Unfortunately every male colleague she encounters has other plans, except for one: Nobel Prize nominee Calvin Evans, whose reputation for holding grudges is legendary.
They meet when Elizabeth, a new hire at Hastings Research Institute, ignores his do-no-disturb sign to requisition some of his lab equipment (he has too much, she doesn’t have enough). Rather than be outraged, Calvin is bewitched—by Elizabeth and her brain.
Together they build a quiet, passionate, happy life that excludes others, but generates scandal and professional jealousy.
When fate steals her happily-ever-after, she is broken, but not beaten. Elizabeth turns her kitchen into a lab, installs a rowing machine in her front room, and starts a new life as a single mother. She even lands a job in television and becomes the controversial host of a syndicated cooking show: Supper At Six. But she’s not teaching women to cook, she’s teaching them to think.
What did I love so much about Elizabeth? She’s a true survivor who refuses to conform … and sure as heck won’t be told what to wear by any male boss.
As she fights for her place in the world, she finds her true family. I adored the chorus of supporting voices, including a spunky neighbor with a deadbeat husband, a former surfer turned minister who no longer believes in God, and a traumatized bomb-sniffing dog who, thanks to Elizabeth, knows 600 words.
Together, these characters create an inspiring, funny, timely tale full of twists that wrap up beautifully. Five stars all the way.
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