Lessons in Chemistry (Book Review)

Lessons in Chemistry (Book Review)

Lessons in Chemistry book review

At first blush, Lessons in Chemistry looks like fluff, but actually, there is much more to it. Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 50’s and early ’60’s, who fights sexism on every front, and dares women to change the status quo.

Elizabeth Zott is a quirky, very original character. I loved her staunch assumption that feminism makes logical sense. I applauded her resilience, and her refusal to pander to male egos. She is definitely ahead of her time, fearless in the face of adversity, and possibly somewhere on the spectrum, before those things were identified. Her brilliant uniqueness is a strength for her but a struggle for everybody else. It is great to root for someone so competent. Additionally, she applies chemistry to cooking!

There is a crisp zing to the writing here that was refreshing. It captures the patronizing way women are treated, without for an instant letting that be ok. The writing elicited from me a large span of emotions, and there are some serious themes here.

There is also a discussion regarding the contrast between science and faith, which I found interesting, while I don’t personally see this as an irreconcilable dichotomy. There is also a fabulous dog and a completely precocious child.

I’ve been that person fighting for gender equality my whole life, so I’m not sure how that colored my enjoyment of this book. Wondering if you’ll have the same reaction, I’ll reign myself in and give this one 4 stars. One thing is abundantly clear: how far we have come. Thank goodness.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John+gregory 2 years ago

    Women’s life’s matter?

    • Author
      Polly Castor 2 years ago


  2. Dilys 2 years ago

    Thank you, Polly. I have this book on my radar and now I shall definitely give it a go. My mother brought my sisters and me up to challenge any kind of male dominance, and I certainly see equality of the sexes correct, as Mary Baker Eddy writes. We have come a long way in acknowledging women’s rights but there is still a long way to go!!

  3. Dilys 2 years ago

    I enjoyed reading this book and agree with all you said about it, Polly. It’s a very popular book at the moment and was promoted on BBC 2’s “Between the Covers” book programme. I’d give it 5 stars !!

  4. Gail 2 years ago

    I found it completely annoying. The whole book is trying too hard. The Elizabeth Zott character is a scientist, without allowing her to realize she is pregnant. Please. And why does her personality have to be rude, abrasive and cold. Just adding more trope. The most likable character is the neighbor Harriet, flaws and all, she came across as a real person.


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