Lessons in Chemistry
A life-affirming tale of a chemist ahead of her time, a life-changing love affair, a dog with a huge vocabulary, and the combustible combination of chemistry, cooking, and afternoon television. Elizabeth Zott only ever wanted to be a scientist—but because she’s a woman in the 1960s, she has to go begging for beakers despite being the smartest researcher in the building. After Elizabeth is ostensibly fired for being unwed and pregnant (but really for being smarter than her boss and dating a rival scientist he loathes), she can’t make ends meet. Out of desperation she accepts a job hosting a tv show called Supper at 6. She loves to cook, because cooking, after all, is chemistry. The producers want her to smile and look pretty, but Elizabeth is much more interested in teaching housewives not just how to make dinner, but how to change their lives. Lively and life-affirming, with an unforgettable protagonist.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • A must-read debut! Meet Elizabeth Zott: a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).
“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…. A page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty.” —Maggie Shipstead, best-selling author of Great Circle
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 as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes 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.
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.