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Lessons in Chemistry Paperback – March 29 2022

4.5 4.5 out of 5 stars 158,488 ratings

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From the Publisher







Product description


Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Debut Novel
Shortlisted for the 2022/23 Comedy Women in Print Prize

Named one of the best books of 2022 by
The New York Times Oprah Daily NPR Entertainment Weekly Daily Hive The Guardian The Times Kirkus Reviews • Business Insider BookPage Amazon

"I loved it and am devastated to have finished it."
—Nigella Lawson, author of Cook, Eat, Repeat

"Just loved it. Highly recommend, once you start you won’t put it down."
                —Julianna Margulies

"Deeply droll and terribly wise at the same time, this book is a delight."
—The Globe and Mail

"Feminism is the catalyst that makes [this story] fizz like hydrochloric acid on limestone. . . . Beyond the entertaining subplots and witty dialogue is the hard truth that, in 1961, a smart, ambitious woman had limited options. . . . To file Elizabeth Zott among the pink razors of the book world is to miss the sharpness of Garmus's message.
Lessons in Chemistry will make you wonder about all the real-life women born ahead of their time—women who were sidelined, ignored and worse because they weren’t as resourceful, determined and lucky as Elizabeth Zott. She's a reminder of how far we've come, but also how far we still have to go." —Elisabeth Egan, The New York Times Book Review

"Garmus . . . delivers an assured voice, an indelible heroine and several love stories. . . . There is an infectious absurdity to the book and its hero. . . . Garmus manages to charm. She's created an indelible assemblage of stubborn, idiosyncratic characters. She's given us a comic novel at precisely the moment we crave one."
—The Washington Post

"Darkly funny and poignant. . . . Garmus paints an excruciating portrait of what her awkward and brilliant protagonist has to deal with on a daily basis both in academia and the corporate world. . . . Excellent . . . quirky and heartwarming."
—The Atlantic

"Beneath its pink cover,
Lessons in Chemistry offers a story about power. . . . A book whose success is the stuff publishing dreams are made of. . . . Lessons in Chemistry has stuck a chord with a wide swath of readers. . . . A book that defies easy categorization. . . ." —The New York Times

"Darkly funny and poignant. . . . Irresistible, a gorgeous tribute to resilience and the many types of love that sustain us."
—Oprah Daily

"Elizabeth is a standout character that pushes the boundaries that women are expected to abide by in this witty yet important read."

"Irresistible. . . . One meal at a time, [Zott] galvanizes her audience to question the lives they've been served."
—New York Times Book Review

"A bold, smart and often hilarious look at the value of so-called women's work."
—Real Simple

"This is a triumphant and totally original debut novel about a woman who refuses to live by society's strict and oppressive gender rules and follows her dream of becoming a scientist even as the world tries to stand in her way."
—Isaac Fitzgerald, author of How to Be a Pirate, for TODAY

"A kicky debut, this book tackles feminism, resilience, and rationalism in a fun and refreshing way."

"A rare beast; a polished, funny, thought-provoking story, wearing its research lightly but confidently, with sentences so stylishly turned it’s hard to believe it's a debut." —
The Guardian

"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

"A smart, funny, big-hearted debut combining chemical elements into what seems a winning formula—one whose breakneck pace and gently ironic tone should appeal to readers of literary-commercial hits by American authors such as Katherine Heiny, Emma Straub and Curtis Sittenfeld." —Sunday Times (UK)

"This triumphant feminist fable, wittily observed, is teeming with vivid comic set-pieces, those joyful moments feel more or less earned thanks to Garmus's winning forumla."

"[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

"[A] smart, uproarious, emotional page-turner."
—The Times

"A transporting read."

"Never will you meet such an uncompromising character as Elizabeth Zott. . . . This is a truly unique book with some great life lessons."
Woman & Home

"Full of humour heartbreak and characters who feel like real people. This is a book that everyone will be talking about."

"[An] energetic debut. . . . A more adorable plea for rationalism and gender equality would be hard to find."
—Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

"Indefatigable and formidable, Elizabeth pushes the bounds of how women and their work are perceived in this thoroughly engaging debut novel."

"Bonnie Garmus's devastating and funny debut novel blows the lid off the simplistic myth of post-World War II American life. . . . A witty and sharp dramedy about resilience and found families. . . . The scope of what this iconoclastic woman goes through is breathtaking, from personal losses to unrelenting sexism. . . . Not one moment of Elizabeth's story rings false; every detail is a well-documented component of the time period yet specific to her experience. Readers won't be able to get enough of Elizabeth and her makeshift family.
Lessons in Chemistry is a story to return to again and again." —BookPage (starred review)

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 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

"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 vibrant and original story of hope and staying true to yourself. Laugh-out-loud funny and brimming with life, 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

"Original, fresh, tender, funny and warm. The story dances and swirls, captivating the reader from the first page."
—Sinead Moriarty

"The most charming, life-enhancing novel I've read in ages. A perfect delight."
—India Knight

About the Author

BONNIE GARMUS is a copywriter and creative director who has worked widely in the fields of technology, medicine and education. She's an open-water swimmer, a rower and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Born in California and most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Doubleday Canada (March 29 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0385697376
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385697378
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 540 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.49 x 2.79 x 23.37 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 4.5 out of 5 stars 158,488 ratings

About the author

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Bonnie Garmus is a copywriter and creative director who has worked for a wide range of clients, in the US and abroad, focusing primarily on technology, medicine, and education. She’s an open water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two pretty amazing daughters. Most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
158,488 global ratings

Top reviews from Canada

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Top reviews from other countries

Jonathan D. Mueller
3.0 out of 5 stars Started strongly but then degenerated into flights of fancy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 20, 2022
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Maureen Sunderland
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it pretends to be.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 30, 2022
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Sally Zigmond
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 19, 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a debut!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 10, 2022
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Sarah H.
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful and mesmerizing novel.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 19, 2023
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21 people found this helpful