Read with Sharon - May 2023

Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus

When I read the reviews on Lessons in Chemistry, I became curious as to what all the hype was about. Then I heard there was a movie being made on the book. So I picked up a copy. And once I started reading, I was unable to put it down. What a fun read! Mind you this is a serious story with serious themes and scenes, but at times I found myself laughing aloud at Protagonist Elizabeth Zott’s dry sense of humor, and at the antics of her daughter and her dog.

Lessons in Chemistry is a lesson in the unfairness of life, and also schools us in the lessons taught by karma. But for me, the story of Elizabeth Zott reminds us how much the world has changed in fifty years and yet how much it remains the same.

This month, our book club is meeting on Thursday, May 25, at 7:00 pm EDT.

Until then, I hope you find Lessons in Chemistry as entertaining as I did.

Buy the Book


There’s a scene early on in Bonnie Garmus’s novel “Lessons in Chemistry” in which Elizabeth Zott, a redoubtable chemist thwarted at every turn by a hidebound 1950s establishment, is given career advice by a male colleague: “Don’t work the system. Outsmart it.” Zott, for her part, “didn’t like the notion that systems had to be outsmarted. Why couldn’t they just be smart in the first place?”

Every now and again, a first novel appears in a flurry of hype and big-name TV deals, and before the end of the first chapter you do a little air-punch because for once it’s all completely justified. Lessons in Chemistry, by former copywriter Bonnie Garmus, is that rare beast; a polished, funny, thought-provoking story, wearing its research lightly but confidently, and with sentences so stylishly turned it’s hard to believe it’s a debut.

Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus

Book Club Questions


  1. Did you like Elizabeth?
  2. Have you ever feel discriminated against due to your gender?


  1. There were a few strong supporting characters. Who was yourfavorite?
  2. Do you think this book painted an accurate picture of trying to findsuccess as a woman in the 1960s?
  3. Six-Thirty was an amazing dog. Have you ever had a pet that youthought was very intelligent?


  1. Did it work for you? What would you have changed?
  2. What do you think is the author’s message to readers of Lessons in Chemistry?
  3. What did you take away from the book?
  4. Are you left with any questions?


  1. Did you notice any symbolism?
  2. What foreshadowing did you notice? 


  1. Use one adjective to describe the writing itself.
  2. What would you change if you could rewrite Lessons in Chemistry?


  1. What did you love most about the book?
  2. Did the book change any views/opinions that you have?

Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus