Buddha Reads: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel By Bonnie Garmus

Our Next Literary Adventure

“Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” by Doris Pilkington.

In our recent gathering on Sunday, August 20th, a small group came together to delve into the insightful pages of “Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel” by Bonnie Garmus. Our discussion circle consisted of Joan, Bob, Gary, and myself, and we all found immense enjoyment in this literary offering. This work marks Bonnie Garmus’s debut novel, a remarkable tale that introduces us to Elizabeth Zott, a former chemist turned cooking show host in the backdrop of 1960s Southern California. Her journey unfolds, intertwining with intriguing characters such as Calvin, her chemist boyfriend, a skilled rower, and the father of her daughter, Madeline, as well as Harriet, her neighbor, and her faithful companion, Six-Thirty.

Gary initiated our conversation with an interesting perspective, noting that the book’s title might suggest a mundane read, but he was pleasantly surprised by its captivating narrative and deemed it highly enjoyable. He even described it as a work of feminist comedy. In contrast, Bob, while acknowledging the presence of humor throughout the story, believed that calling it merely a comedy would be an oversimplification. Instead, he saw it as a profound social commentary that courageously addresses the prevailing male chauvinism of the 1950s and 1960s. Elizabeth’s journey is fraught with challenges as she faces harassment and assault from her male colleagues, despite her superior intellect and initiative. Her path leads her from a chemistry lab to hosting a cooking show on TV after the tragic loss of Calvin and her subsequent dismissal upon revealing her pregnancy.

While the narrative does touch on moments of despair and tribulation in the lives of Elizabeth and Madeline, the author’s engaging prose, infused with humor, shines a light on the absurdity of the “good old days.” Remarkably, one of the standout characters in the book is none other than the wise and observant Six-Thirty, the dog. His unique perspective offers profound and humorous insights into the lives of Elizabeth and Madeline, providing a refreshing vantage point.

It is the unanimous sentiment of the members of the Buddha Reads Book Club that “Lessons in Chemistry” stands as a remarkable literary work, deserving of our highest recommendations. We encourage each and every one of you to embark on this literary journey.

As we approach the end of our list of candidate books, we kindly invite you to share your book suggestions with us via email at Buddha.Reads@

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