Saturday, February 18, 2023

Lessons in Chemistry

 My first 5-star read of the year.  I am so glad I finally put this book at the top of my to-read list after seeing so many recommendations online in the various book groups I follow.  As someone who experienced studying engineering in college as the solo woman in my small department and then going to work on Wall Street, I encountered my fair share of doubting males.  But, I also encountered my share of Calvins that didn't differentiate based on my gender.  I was also fortunate enough to have many strong female managers who helped me in my career.  I appreciate the struggles women like Elizabeth endured to enable me to have the career I did in the 1990s.  

I think the aspect of this book I liked the most was although it is a serious topic and the struggles were represented well, they were not in your face like a lecture.  Rather the reader was able to process and intuit the differences in how Elizabeth was treated and the societal rules she was challenging.  I loved her belief that Life is Change and Chemistry is Change which helped her to encourage change and courage in many other women, most of whom she didn't know.  

Readers looking for an empowering read will like this novel.   There are some trigger scenes involving rape and inappropriate interactions in the plot.

Lessons in ChemistryLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book lived up to all the hype in my opinion. It is far more serious than the title would imply. I still felt like there were many light-hearted moments that brought a smile to my face. There is a level of seriousness to the story as well. Elizabeth and Calvin had rough lives before they met, each keeping secrets of their childhood but someone they were able to find each other and related to each other like none before. Both are very logical and pragmatic personalities and anyone that tends to lean toward that in their lives will definitely relate. As someone who feels they have a B****y resting face, I can certainly relate. The underlying story about the struggles women, particularly those working in scientific fields, encountered in the 50s and 60s was well written without feeling like it is a lecture. I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for women who have ever worked in a male-dominated career.

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Goodreads and Reading by the Numbers #ReadingByNumbers2023 Book #  24
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  G
  3. What an Animal Book #5
  4. Mount TBR   #MountTBR2023  Book # 3
  5. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #1
  6. Humor  Book #1
  7. 23 in 2023 # 22 A book about the body, medicine, or science
  8. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2023  #43 A Book "Everyone" has read
  9. Around the Year in 52 Books #18. A book related to science  
  10. Bookworm # 55 Read a book that takes place in at least two different decades
  11. BooklistQueen  #booklistqueenreadingchallenge2023  #2. Goodreads Winner in 2022
  12. Beat the Backlist #BTB2023  #11 2022 debut novel
  13. HP Quidditch 23 #25 Puddlemere United: With multiple points of view
  14. Nerdy Bookworm  #NerdyBookwormChallengeXO #10. Read a book that is hyped online
  15. Nerd Daily #thenerddaily #nerdreading2023 #36. CHAPTERS HAVE TITLES
  16. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge # 39 A book you wish you could read for the first time again
  17. Pick your Poison  # 72 A book whose cover makes you think of a middle school girl
  18. Read with Allison #3 Read By #readwithallison in 2022
  19. Sci and Nature # 1 About a Scientist
  20. Unruly Reader Bingo  #23 Chemistry
  21. Beyond the Bookends  February- Read a historical romance

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