ATTENTION MIT WOMEN WHO READ THIS COLUMN: READ THIS REVIEW
The stars next to the title are not a typo. It’s a six-star rating. This novel is one of the best I have ever read. It is vivid, well written, and has one of the finest and most satisfying endings ever. I’m so glad I didn’t read the end first, as I often do with novels. Lessons in Chemistry describes the travails faced by intelligent women in American during the 50s and 60s, in academia and at work.
Every type of torture of the intelligent woman that is described in this book is familiar to me, as a second-wave feminist. I could (but won’t) name women I know upon whom each of these indignities were visited, at MIT and life. Proud to say I never committed the worst of these crimes against women, and seldom committed the least of them.
And yet, it’s not a polemic. It’s a clever, witty book that includes passionate love and steadfast adherence to principals. And a few out-loud laughs. And enough metaphors to float a section of English Lit.
When I finished, I instantly Googled the author, Bonnie Garmus, so I could read her other works. Imagine my surprise to find that this is her debut novel. I am hoping and praying for more from her.