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Scottsdale Branch Bookclub

  • June 06, 2023
  • 5:30 PM (MST)
  • Danielle Dollof home: 5402 E WETHERSFIELD RD Scottsdale


Registration is closed

We will be reading and discussing
"Lessons In Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmus


A debut novel about a scientist in the 1960s who is opinionated, funny and intelligent, full stop. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Zott has been unceremoniously and brutally sidelined by male colleagues who make Don Draper look like a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy).Dig deeper into the moment.

How, exactly, she was cheated out of a doctorate and lost the love of her life — Calvin Evans, a kindred scientist, expert rower and the father of her daughter, Madeline — are central elements in the story, but feminism is the catalyst that makes it 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 (“the theory that life rose from simplistic, non-life forms,” in case you didn’t know). Not long after Zott converts her kitchen into a lab equipped with beakers, pipettes and a centrifuge, she gets hoodwinked into hosting a staid television cooking show called “Supper at Six.” But she isn’t going to smile and read the cue cards. Zott ad-libs her way into a role that suits her, treating the creation of a stew or a casserole as a grand experiment to be undertaken with utmost seriousness. Think molecular gastronomy in an era when canned soup reigned supreme. Baked into each episode is a healthy serving of empowerment, with none of the frill we have come to associate with that term. In addition to her serious look at the frustrations of a generation of women, Garmus adds plenty of lighthearted fun. There’s a mystery involving Calvin’s family and a look at the politics and dysfunction of the local television station. There’s Zott’s love affair with rowing and her unconventional approach to parenthood and her deep connection to her dog, Six-Thirty.

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