> Skip to content
  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781473594531
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

Lessons in Chemistry

The No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller and BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick




'Mad Men' didn't turn scientists into unlikely TV stars. But if they did ...
The blockbuster of 2022, set in 1960s California, introducing the unique and unforgettable Elizabeth Zott.

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER and NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
OBSERVER'S 'TEN DEBUT NOVELISTS OF 2022'
A STEVE WRIGHT BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB CHOICE

'Sparky, rip-roaring, funny, with big-hearted fully formed, loveable characters' SUNDAY TIMES
'The most charming, life-enhancing novel I've read in ages. Strongly recommend' INDIA KNIGHT

'Laugh-out-loud funny and brimming with life, generosity and courage' RACHEL JOYCE

'A novel that sparks joy with every page' ELIZABETH DAY
____________
Your ability to change everything - including yourself - starts here

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.

But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take 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.

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.
__________
SOON TO BE A MAJOR APPLE TV SERIAL, STARRING BRIE LARSON

'I loved Lessons in Chemistry and am devastated to have finished it!' NIGELLA LAWSON

'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

'It's the world versus Elizabeth Zott, and I had no trouble choosing a side. A page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty' MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD, author of GREAT CIRCLE

  • Published: 12 April 2022
  • ISBN: 9781473594531
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 400

About the author

Bonnie Garmus

BONNIE GARMUS is a copywriter/creative director who has worked for a wide range of clients, focusing primarily on technology, medicine, and education. She is an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two wonderful daughters. Most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

Praise for Lessons in Chemistry

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

Original, fresh, tender, funny and warm. The story dances and swirls, captivating the reader from the first page. Elizabeth Zott is the most wonderful character. Just fantastic

SINEAD MORIARTY

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

On par with Beth Harmon of The Queen's Gambit, 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 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

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 transporting read, recommended for fans of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

STYLIST MAGAZINE, BOOKS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2022

Lessons in Chemistry is a vibrant and original story of hope and staying true to yourself. Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and brimming with life and generosity and courage

RACHEL JOYCE

A truly involving and uplifting book! Bonnie Garmus addresses serious topics with humour that is genuinely funny. I especially liked the dog. Mine only appears to know one word, which is 'supper', but there again she is a Labrador. I'm sure this is going to be a great success, and deserves to be

ANNE YOUNGSON, Costa Book Award-shortlisted author of MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM

This incredible novel has EVERYTHING - an unforgettable heroine, wry humour, love, family and bucketloads of optimism and female empowerment. It's WONDERFUL

HANNAH BECKERMAN

A fabulous novel. Compelling, satisfying, a real page-turner

NINA STIBBE

Not only is Elizabeth an unforgettable character, so too are her adorable dog Six Thirty and daughter, Mad. This is a truly unique book with some great life lessons

WOMAN AND HOME, Best Books of 2022

Strikingly relevant. . . Darkly funny and poignant. . . Lessons in Chemistry's excellent experiment is quirky and heartwarming

THE ATLANTIC

This triumphant feminist fable, wittily observed, is teeming with vivid comic set-pieces

TELEGRAPH, Fiction of the Week

I haven't loved a character as much as the hero of this joyful, warm debut in a very long time

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Book of the Month

Bold, smart and often hilarious look at so-called women's work

REAL SIMPLE, US

In Garmus' debut novel, a frustrated chemist finds herself at the helm of a cooking show that sparks a revolution. Welcome to the 1960s, where a woman's arsenal of tools was often limited to the kitchen - and where Elizabeth Zott is hellbent on overturning the status quo one meal at a time

NEW YORK TIMES

An energetic debut ... A more adorable plea for rationalism and gender equality would be hard to find

KIRKUS (starred review)

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

BOOKLIST

Like a woman-centric "Mad Men" ... A witty and sharp dramedy about resilience and found families ... Readers won't be able to get enough of Elizabeth and her makeshift family. A story to return to again and again

BOOKPAGE

Elizabeth Zott is the smart, fierce star of Garmus' witty debut. Brilliant

MAIL ON SUNDAY

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

RED MAGAZINE

Smart, funny, big-hearted

SUNDAY TIMES

Charming and emboldening tale with a vintage sheen... A thoroughly entertaining and emboldened look at gender in the 1960s. A must read!

MAGIC RADIO, BOOK CLUB READ

Feminism is the catalyst that makes [Lessons in Chemistry] fizz like hydrochloric acid on limestone. Elizabeth Zott does not have 'moxie'; she has courage. She is not a 'girl boss' or a 'lady chemist'; she's a groundbreaker and an expert in abiogenesis. . . 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

NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Garmus delivers an assured voice, an indelible heroine and relatable love stories

WASHINGTON POST

Like a woman-centric "Mad Men" ... A witty and sharp dramedy about resilience and found familes. Readers won't be able to get enough of Elizabeth and her makeshift family. A story to return to again and again

BOOKPAGE

Entirely enjoyable, totally engrossing novel, Garmus' beautifully drawn characters, her polished, engaging prose and a hugely satisfying plot make for a glorious read. Lessons In Chemistry is alight with warmth, wit and hard-won wisdom. Absolutely wonderful

DAILY EXPRESS

Zott is a brilliantly realised character whom it's impossible not to love...[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

The most charming, life-enhancing novel I've read in ages. A perfect delight. It's about Elizabeth Zott, a scientist who accidentally becomes a TV cook in the early 1960s. Very strongly recommend

INDIA KNIGHT, SUNDAY TIMES

Witty, inspiring and a joy

I-NEWSPAPER

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

BUZZFEED

Polished, funny, thought-provoking. Wearing its research lightly but confidently with sentences so stylishly turned it's hard to believe it's a debut ... The real pleasure is in the dry wit of Garmus's writing

GUARDIAN, Book of the day

A fast-moving plot, zippy dialogue and wry sense of humour. A satisfying story with hateable villains and loveable good guys. Garmus's sparkling writing is a breath of fresh air

SUNDAY EXPRESS

Original and refreshing. Elizabeth Zott is one of those singular, unforgettable characters you don't come across enough in fiction. Witty and dark, it is both a breath of fresh air and a reminder of how much still has to change for true equality

PRESS ASSOCIATION

Elizabeth is a woman who challenges the norms of a woman in the 60s...her perseverance to succeed is enthralling. The fight to do what she really wants, and that alone, is one that'll have you rooting for her throughout

STYLIST

Unforgettable ... Elizabeth Zott is intelligent, fearless, determined and utterly inspiring

CULTUREFLY

Every bit as brilliant as everyone is saying. Funny, clever, full of heart and wonderful characters. I loved it

A J PEARCE

A funny, thought-provoking revenge story. Elizabeth Zott is ahead of her time. This is such a great book, everyone should read it!

SHAPARAK KHORSANDI

A proper page turner which really made me giggle. It's so dry. The humour has a gorgeous lightness of touch. I really enjoyed it

STEVE WRIGHT, BBC RADIO TWO BOOK CLUB

Witty, fast-paced and unabashedly amusing' Lessons in Chemistry is 'written with charm, verve and piercing insight ... a future classic

LITERARY REVIEW

The best book I've read recently. I loved it

SARA COX, BBC 2 Between the Covers

Garmus has made feminism not just palpable, but delicious

I-NEWS

Absolutely unputdownable. I completely loved it

RICHARD E GRANT

I loved it. You don't want to finish it. You don't want to put it down. It's wonderful to hear a voice that has total honesty and clarity. I love that Elizabeth Zott is funny and hasn't got a clue that she's funny

DEBORAH MEADEN, BBC 2 BETWEEN THE COVERS

I loved everything about it. There were so many things I could relate to

STEPHEN BAILEY, BBC 2 BETWEEN THE COVERS

i couldn't put it down. It was so easy to read: hilarious, heartfelt. With all of the issues that we are still dealing with right now. Heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure

SUKH OJLA

An absolute delight. Zott is a cracking protagonist - strikingly single-minded, socially awkward, fiercely determined to forge her own path

FINANCIAL TIMES, Best Audio Books

Laugh-alound funny, witty and provocative, LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY recreates the rampant sexism of America just before Betty Friedan's THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE and the bonfire of the bras

THE TIMES, audiobook of the week

A funny, bigh-hearted read

THE TIMES, Summer Reading Choice

THE antidote to life's current grimness: a shrewd, witty, inventive, feminist comedy you should all race to read

PATRICK GALE

Discover more

Article
The Origin of Elizabeth Zott

Bonnie Garmus shares the Inspiration behind her uncompromising and unconventional character, Elizabeth Zott!

Article
Find your perfect winter read!

Temperatures are dropping, the nights are getting darker and it’s the perfect time to find a cozy spot to curl up with a good book . . .

Video
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus: Book Trailer

The blockbuster of 2022, set in 1960s California, introducing the unique and unforgettable Elizabeth Zott. Elizabeth is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott. A single mother, and the reluctant star of America's most beloved cooking show Supper at Six, Elizabeth Zott isn't just teaching women to cook. She's daring them to change the status quo.

Video
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

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. But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take 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. Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott. Buy now: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/lessons-in-chemistry-9780857528131

Related titles