Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet or computer – no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Follow the author
Lessons in Chemistry: The No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick Paperback – 2 Mar. 2023
|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobooks, Unabridged
|Free with your Audible trial|
Audio CD, Unabridged
Save 5% on any 4 |
Save 5% on any 4 qualifying items. Discount by Amazon. Shop items
Purchase options and add-ons
THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES and #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The multi-million copy bestseller
As read on BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime
Winner of the Goodreads Choice Best Debut Novel Award
British Book Awards Author of the Year
'Sparky, rip-roaring, funny, with big-hearted fully formed, loveable characters'SUNDAY TIMES
'The most charming, life-enhancing novel I've read in ages. Strongly recommend' INDIA KNIGHT
Your ability to change everything - including yourself - starts here
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.
But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Forced to resign, she reluctantly signs on as the host of a cooking show, Supper at Six. But her revolutionary approach to cooking, fuelled by scientific and rational commentary, grabs the attention of a nation.
Soon, a legion of overlooked housewives find themselves daring to change the status quo. One molecule at a time.
A Book of the Year for: Guardian, Times, Sunday Times, Good Housekeeping, Woman & Home, Stylist, TLS, Oprah Daily, Newsweek, Mail on Sunday, New York Times, India Knight, Hay Festival, Amazon and many others
SOON TO BE A MAJOR APPLE TV SERIES STARRING BRIE LARSON
'Biting and cheerIng in exactly the right measure' JOJO MOYES
'I loved Lessons in Chemistry and am devastated to have finished it!' NIGELLA LAWSON
'Laugh-out-loud funny and brimming with life, generosity and courage' RACHEL JOYCE
'A novel that sparks joy with every page' ELIZABETH DAY
'Elizabeth Zott is an iconic heroine' PANDORA SYKES
'A page-turning and highly satisfying tale' MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD, author of GREAT CIRCLE
Special offers and product promotions
- Get any 2 for £8. Offered by Amazon.co.uk Shop items
- Save 5% on any 4 qualifying items. Discount by Amazon. Shop items
This triumphant feminist fable, wittily observed, is teeming with vivid comic set-pieces ― TELEGRAPH, Fiction of the Week
Polished, funny, thought-provoking. Wearing its research lightly but confidently with sentences so stylishly turned it's hard to believe it's a debut ... The real pleasure is in the dry wit of Garmus's writing ― GUARDIAN, Book of the day
Not only is Elizabeth an unforgettable character, so too are her adorable dog Six Thirty and daughter, Mad. This is a truly unique book with some great life lessons ― WOMAN AND HOME, Best Books of 2022
A book that sparks joy with every page. LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY is both funny and rousing: it had me laughing one minute and air-punching the next. Bonnie Garmus has created an unforgettable heroine ― ELIZABETH DAY
It's the world versus Elizabeth Zott, an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms, and I had no trouble choosing a side. Lessons in Chemistry is a page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty ― MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD, author of GREAT CIRCLE
Full of humour heartbreak and characters who feel like real people. This is a book that everyone will be talking about ― RED MAGAZINE
I haven't loved a character as much as the hero of this joyful, warm debut in a very long time ― GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Book of the Month
Absolutely unputdownable. I completely loved it ― RICHARD E GRANT
A transporting read, recommended for fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel ― STYLIST MAGAZINE, BOOKS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2022
In Garmus' 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 ― NEW YORK TIMES
A fast-moving plot, zippy dialogue and wry sense of humour. A satisfying story with hateable villains and loveable good guys. Garmus's sparkling writing is a breath of fresh air ― SUNDAY EXPRESS
Elizabeth Zott is the smart, fierce star of Garmus' witty debut. Brilliant ― MAIL ON SUNDAY
Lessons in Chemistry is a vibrant and original story of hope and staying true to yourself. Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and brimming with life and generosity and courage ― RACHEL JOYCE
A timeless book. Elizabeth Zott is an iconic heroine - a feminist who refuses to be quashed, a mother who believes that her child is a person to behold, rather than to mould, and who will leave you, and the lens through which you see the world, quite changed ― PANDORA SYKES
THE antidote to life's current grimness: a shrewd, witty, inventive, feminist comedy you should all race to read ― PATRICK GALE
Original and refreshing. Elizabeth Zott is one of those singular, unforgettable characters you don't come across enough in fiction. Witty and dark, it is both a breath of fresh air and a reminder of how much still has to change for true equality ― PRESS ASSOCIATION
Zott is a brilliantly realised character whom it's impossible not to love...[a] warm and addictive novel which cleverly and entertainingly unpacks the thorny questions around women's empowerment, the need to be true to oneself and why we should refuse to accept the limitations others try to impose on us. A triumph ― DAILY MAIL
Smart, funny, big-hearted ― SUNDAY TIMES
A fabulous novel. Compelling, satisfying, a real page-turner ― NINA STIBBE
Witty, inspiring and a joy ― I-NEWSPAPER
Lessons in Chemistry is a breath of fresh air - a witty, propulsive, and refreshingly hopeful novel populated with singular characters. This book is an utter delight - wry, warm and compulsively readable ― CLAIRE LOMBARDO, author of THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD
A proper page turner which really made me giggle. It's so dry. The humour has a gorgeous lightness of touch. I really enjoyed it ― STEVE WRIGHT, BBC RADIO TWO BOOK CLUB
Original, fresh, tender, funny and warm. The story dances and swirls, captivating the reader from the first page. Elizabeth Zott is the most wonderful character. Just fantastic ― SINEAD MORIARTY
Strikingly relevant. . . Darkly funny and poignant. . . Lessons in Chemistry's excellent experiment is quirky and heartwarming ― THE ATLANTIC
A funny, thought-provoking revenge story. Elizabeth Zott is ahead of her time. This is such a great book, everyone should read it! ― SHAPARAK KHORSANDI
Garmus has made feminism not just palpable, but delicious ― I-NEWS
On par with Beth Harmon of The Queen's Gambit, Elizabeth Zott swept me away with her intellect, honesty, and unapologetic selfhood. Lessons in Chemistry is a story for all the smart girls who refuse to dumb themselves down despite a culture that demands otherwise. Though a creation of the 50s & 60s, Zott is a feminist icon for our time ― RACHEL YODER, author of NIGHTBITCH
A truly involving and uplifting book! Bonnie Garmus addresses serious topics with humour that is genuinely funny. I especially liked the dog. Mine only appears to know one word, which is 'supper', but there again she is a Labrador. I'm sure this is going to be a great success, and deserves to be ― ANNE YOUNGSON, Costa Book Award-shortlisted author of MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM
This incredible novel has EVERYTHING - an unforgettable heroine, wry humour, love, family and bucketloads of optimism and female empowerment. It's WONDERFUL ― HANNAH BECKERMAN
An energetic debut ... A more adorable plea for rationalism and gender equality would be hard to find ― KIRKUS (starred review)
Bold, smart and often hilarious look at so-called women's work ― REAL SIMPLE, US
Like a woman-centric "Mad Men" ... A witty and sharp dramedy about resilience and found families ... Readers won't be able to get enough of Elizabeth and her makeshift family. A story to return to again and again ― BOOKPAGE
Charming and emboldening tale with a vintage sheen... A thoroughly entertaining and emboldened look at gender in the 1960s. A must read! ― MAGIC RADIO, BOOK CLUB READ
Garmus delivers an assured voice, an indelible heroine and relatable love stories ― WASHINGTON POST
Elizabeth is a woman who challenges the norms of a woman in the 60s...her perseverance to succeed is enthralling. The fight to do what she really wants, and that alone, is one that'll have you rooting for her throughout ― STYLIST
Indefatigable and formidable, Elizabeth pushes the bounds of how women and their work are perceived in this thoroughly engaging debut novel ― BOOKLIST
Like a woman-centric "Mad Men" ... A witty and sharp dramedy about resilience and found familes. Readers won't be able to get enough of Elizabeth and her makeshift family. A story to return to again and again ― BOOKPAGE
A kicky debut, this book tackles feminism, resilience, and rationalism in a fun and refreshing way ― BUZZFEED
Every bit as brilliant as everyone is saying. Funny, clever, full of heart and wonderful characters. I loved it ― A J PEARCE
An absolute delight. Zott is a cracking protagonist - strikingly single-minded, socially awkward, fiercely determined to forge her own path ― FINANCIAL TIMES, Best Audio Books
Witty, fast-paced and unabashedly amusing' Lessons in Chemistry is 'written with charm, verve and piercing insight ... a future classic ― LITERARY REVIEW
The best book I've read recently. I loved it ― SARA COX, BBC 2 Between the Covers
I loved it. You don't want to finish it. You don't want to put it down. It's wonderful to hear a voice that has total honesty and clarity. I love that Elizabeth Zott is funny and hasn't got a clue that she's funny ― DEBORAH MEADEN, BBC 2 BETWEEN THE COVERS
I loved everything about it. There were so many things I could relate to ― STEPHEN BAILEY, BBC 2 BETWEEN THE COVERS
i couldn't put it down. It was so easy to read: hilarious, heartfelt. With all of the issues that we are still dealing with right now. Heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure ― SUKH OJLA
Laugh-aloud funny, witty and provocative, LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY recreates the rampant sexism of America just before Betty Friedan's THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE and the bonfire of the bras ― THE TIMES, audiobook of the week
A funny, big-hearted read ― THE TIMES, Summer Reading Choice
I adored this confident, witty portrait of an unforgettable woman and her time ― DAILY MAIL, Summer reading recommendations
One of the smartest and funniest novels to appear this year ― THE NEW EUROPEAN
We guarantee you will love this charming debut ― HELLO MAGAZINE
This smart, uproarious, emotional page-turner...has been the year's runaway hit. Rightly so ― SUNDAY TIMES, Books of the Year
Irresistible, a gorgeous tribute to resilience and the many types of love that sustain us ― OPRAH DAILY
Sharp and deliciously readable. Brings bite as well as charm to the tale of a super-rational scientist navigating sexism in early 60s America. ― GUARDIAN, Books of the Year
The idiosyncratic wit of this year's blockbuster debut is instantly appealing, but it's also a narrative with real bite.Uplifting and irresistibly zany ― THE MAIL, Books of the Year
I fell for Elizabeth Zott immediately. A wonderfully entertaining and empowering read ― GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Books of the Year
A wonderful novel - polished, pacy, funny, witty, warm, life-affirming, and thought-provoking ― SUNDAY MAIL, SCOTLAND
Enchanting, clever, funny and packed with deeply engaging characters. I still think about it a lot ― INDIA KNIGHT's Book of the Year, SUNDAY TIMES
As with all the best stories, there is a timelessness to this book. One senses it will be read in ten or twenty years' time ― IRISH TIMES
Witty, sometimes hilarious, angry, and often surreal. It's the CATCH-22 of early feminism. ― STEPHEN KING
From the Back Cover
But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take 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.
Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott f
- Publisher : Penguin; 1st edition (2 Mar. 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1804990922
- ISBN-13 : 978-1804990926
- Dimensions : 12.8 x 3.4 x 19.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 2 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 May 2023
Reviews with images
Top reviews from United Kingdom
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As to the book itself, here is my Goodreads review (and I read it twice!!):
That’s definitely a five-star read! It is witty, it is funny, it is educational, it is feminist, it is simple great!
I love the humor, I love the sorrow and rebellion! I love Six-Thirty and Mad. Oh, that girl! I love Elizabeth and Harriet! I love Calvin. I love scientific part of the book and how science is integrated in a love story. I was very much surprised to learn that Bonnie Garmus isn’t a chemist at all. I applaud you for the research you did and for the courage to write about science and especially women in science! I very much hope we came long way from that negative, sexist attitude our mothers had to experience in 60s.
This book has so many wisdom, so much scientific passion that I will remember it for my lifetime. Thanks a lot, Bonnie! Huge thanks!
Update - 19/5/2023
It’s a ten-star read. My favorite book. I recommend it to everyone I know! After re-reading it, I have the book full with sticky bookmarks to highlight the sentences I loved. But of course, I couldn’t highlight everything as I liked every sentence, every phrase, every story. Elizabeth Zott, you are a model role! You are a scientist who showed everyone that chemistry is life.
Again, huge thanks to Bonnie Garmus. I so much love this book, that I bought it in every version possible - a hardcover, a paperback (both in British edition), a Kindle ebook and an audio book. I am waiting for an Apple TV+ adaptation and more books from Bonnie Garmus!
“Children, set the table. Your mother needs a moment to herself.”
When I read the marketing endorsements for Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus it was really the unusual juxtaposition of science with TV in its own exploratory period that made me sit up and take notice (which I occasionally did in those long-ago classes when not using the Bunsen burners to pointlessly burn hundreds of defenceless spills – a sort of metaphor for my own life back then). Chemical terms are used throughout the book, but I literally jumped over them, happy in the knowledge that our main character – Elizabeth Zott – understands what she is talking about with such authority. The book races along and I had as little inclination as ever to pause for descriptions of method and apparatus.
Elizabeth is a research scientist thwarted by the misogyny of 1950s America and still in the 1960s as she becomes an unwitting feminist hero in her role as the host of a TV cookery show. The programme airs in the afternoon slot immediately before ‘housewives’ everywhere need to galvanise themselves to ensure their husbands’ suppers are on the table the moment they walk through the door. Elizabeth is also strikingly beautiful which leads to both men and women wanting to pigeonhole her even more.
Elizabeth has met and fallen in love with her kindred spirit, Calvin, and a brilliant daughter - brilliantly named Mad for short – is the result of their experiments. Calvin’s back history provides a simmering background to the novel, while Elizabeth, her daughter and curious dog Six Thirty take centre stage.
Achingly funny in places, I loved the introduction of secondary characters such as her down-trodden neighbour and equally eccentric doctor, but her TV producer Walter Pine was probably my favourite of all. He was as mystified by the autistic certainty of Elizabeth as he was captured and concerned in equal measures by her uncontrollable zest for life in largely unforgiving circumstances.
I didn’t really like the ending – and not just because it was the ending. I felt that things unfolded far too quickly. We needed to be put through more tests before arriving at the author’s (and our) results. I got a real feel for early 1960s live television shows but would have liked a little more historical context to this, and in the early part of the story set in the 1950s. I felt that for all the undoubted accuracy (I assume) of the science, some aspects were too thin and skated over before the ice could melt.
In conclusion, this isn’t just a story about a woman trying to make it in a man’s world – then or now – it is a tale of something or somebody quite different from us landing in our everyday lives. It is about how we handle that difference. History shows that we have so often handled that badly. Unsurprisingly I learned more from that subject than the indisputable evidence that science is all around us: it makes us who we are and how we are with others, even if we don’t often talk about it.
The book is 386 pages split into 46 chapters which makes reading it very easy.
I had a look on Amazon before I started and was amused to se that this is the number one book in the "Feminist Criticism" category (there was me thinking it was a novel!).
The story starts with Elizabeth as a mother, scientist and TV presenter, juggling her commitments in a way that was unusual for the 1960s. We then go back ten years and begin to understand how she got where she is now.
Whilst appearing to be light on the surface, the book quickly moves to much darker territory, showing the sexism and abuse that was accepted as normal. That sums up the beauty of this book - it has an unforgiving hardness at its centre but is wrapped but a thin layer of social predictability making it accessible to read.
There is a balance of comedy and serious issues that also makes the book fun. Elizabeth as a character is hard to believe and I thought the author could have softened her more but, let yourself go with the depiction, and she is a great focus for the novel. The story has a big build up before we actually get Elizabeth on TV (which is marketed as the core of the novel) - this feels like a long time but is necessary as it sets the scene.
Everyone in the book is a remarkable person for all sorts of reasons - even Six Thirty (the dog) who is taught to recognise hundreds of specific words.
Getting further into the book I became more and more aware of how deep the topic is. There is a lot of thought around the equality messages and you can't help but make comparisons to today's society - some problems have been reduced by legislation and gradual society change but many issues are worse than ever. Women appearing on TV today would say that their looks are analysed more than ever before, with the possibilities of feedback not limited to phone calls and letters.
Endings of novels are hard to get right but this one is perfectly achieved. There is a lovely amount of emotion mixed in with a good balance of well structured plot.