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An original and entertaining page-turner about female empowerment in the early 1960’s, Elizabeth Zott an intelligent and gifted chemist tries to make her way in this male dominated environment. A superb, fun read and book club favourite.

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Den scores




386 pages

“Despite what Elizabeth Zott will tell you, Supper at Six is not just an introduction to chemistry. It’s a thirty-minute, five-day-a-week lesson in life. And not in who we are or what we’ve made of, but rather, who we’re capable of becoming.”

An original and entertaining page-turner about female empowerment. Elizabeth Zott is trying to forge a career as a top chemist in California in the early 1960’s but acceptance of such a strong, clever woman is not going to come without its consequences and setbacks. A superb, fun read and a book club favourite, also now available in paperback.

When we first meet Elizabeth Zott, she has turned from being a research chemist at Hastings Research Institute to packing her daughter’s lunch and presenting a daily cookery show called Supper at Six on American TV. We soon discover that Elizabeth is no ordinary mother and no ordinary TV host. She is a scientist, specifically a chemist and she utilises her new TV platform to teach the stay at home housewives the chemistry of cooking, refusing to pamper to her boss’s demands to conform to the stereotypical cosy baking show format they intended.

As we uncover the reasons why Elizabeth agrees to do the show in the first place so we discover her first love, being a chemist, working at the Hastings Institute, where despite her extraordinary intelligence she isn’t able to progress or win over the staff in the male dominated environment. This all changes when she accosts the infamous and highly esteemed chemist, Calvin Evans, whose reputation at Hastings is untouchable. Unlike her work colleagues, Elizabeth is not intimidated by Calvin and their shared passion for chemistry ignites a unique and special relationship which threatens those around her. Calvin introduces Elizabeth to rowing and when a stray dog finds its way to her, she simply names him Six-Thirty as this is the time she glances at her watch when Calvin first meets them both together. But an unexpected turn of events, leaves Elizabeth alone and pregnant and the question is whether such a strong-minded person can carve a future for herself in the chemistry field she loves whilst also being the breadwinner and sole parent for her daughter and trying to empower other woman to be like her.

'Lessons in Chemistry' will give you or your book club plenty to dissect. In Elizabeth Zott, Garmus has created an unforgettable character whose analysis of the world is absolute and uncompromising. Garmus’s writing bursts with energy and through Elizabeth, she not only creates someone who defies all the odds of her generation, she also questions the adverse effect of religion and culture on a woman’s progress in the world. And as the title of the book says, you will also learn some interesting lessons in the chemistry behind baking!

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