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Find thought-provoking Lessons in Chemistry book club questions here. This popular feminist fiction novel by debut author, Bonnie Garmus, offers so many topics that are ripe for discussion.

You’ll foster meaningful discussion and get free printable book club questions and a bingo card to prepare for your in-person book club. Get started below.

lessons in chemistry by bonnie garmus in front on bookshelves.

Lessons in Chemistry Book Club Questions

Below are discussion questions for Lessons in Chemistry that you can use at your book club meeting.

A lot has been said about the cover art for this book (namely that it looks more like a modern romance book than feminist fiction). What are your thoughts on the cover art?

Why do you think Garmus chose the era of the 1950s-1960s as the time period of this story?

How may this story differ if it were not set in Southern California?

Why do you think Garmus chose chemistry as Elizabeth Zott’s profession?

Was it significant that Elizabeth Zott was self-educated?

Discuss the pencil as a symbol in Lessons in Chemistry.

What issues did Elizabeth Zott face in her professional life?

What issues do you think Elizabeth Zott would face in her professional life today?

Discuss the end of Elizabeth Zott’s career at the Hastings Research Institute.

How may Elizabeth Zott’s life have been different if she were a man?

How is Elizabeth Zott similar to and different from other women?

How is Calvin Evans similar to and different from his colleagues?

What do Calvin and Elizabeth see in each other?

How did Calvin’s and Elizabeth’s family backgrounds shape them?

Why do you think Garmus incorporated rowing in Lessons in Chemistry?

Discuss Elizabeth’s and the ther characters’ reactions to her pregnancy.

Were you surprised by the way in which Elizabeth Zott became a single mother?

Describe Elizabeth Zott as a single mother.

What challenges does Elizabeth Zott face as a working single mother?

What challenges may Elizabeth Zott face as a working single mother today?

The name “Six-Thirty” is so unique and memorable. What did you think of the name and the character?

Discuss the roles of various friends in Elizabeth Zott’s life.

Discuss the role of faith and religion in Lessons in Chemistry.

Discuss the significance of a cooking show being Elizabeth Zott’s second career.

Describe the similarities and differences between Elizabeth Zott’s jobs.

Why did “Supper at Six” become a hit?

Discuss the role of the Life Magazine article in Elizabeth Zott’s life.

What are Elizabeth Zott’s strengths?

What are Elizabeth Zott’s values?

Discuss the specific acts of sexism in Lessons in Chemistry.

Can you relate to Elizabeth Zott?

Did any of the circumstances Elizabeth Zott faced surprise you?

Did the ending surprise you?

Why do you think Elizabeth Zott made the choices she did at the end?

Discuss the choices Avery Parker made and why she made them.

What do you think would happen next in Elizabeth Zott’s life?

Do you think Elizabeth Zott’s story reflects reality?

Why is Lessons in Chemistry so popular? (over one million copies sold to date)

Bonnie Garmus created a Spotify playlist for Lessons in Chemistry. What you you think of her song choices?

Just for fun, share your favorite recipes and/or cooking tips.

What is the theme of Lessons in Chemistry?

Did you take away anything specific about the theme of feminism from Lessons in Chemistry?

Discuss the tv adaptation of Lessons in Chemistry.

Discuss the significance of Bonnie Garmus’s debut novel (Lessons in Chemistry) being published when she was age 64.

Is Lessons in Chemistry worth reading?

Printable Reading Guides

Download printable book club discussion questions and a bingo game below to prepare for your in-person book club.

Discussion Questions

Card for Bingo Game

Lessons in chemistry bingo card.
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Why Lessons In Chemistry Is A Good Book Club Book

  • #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Over 1 million copies sold
  • Now an AppleTV+ series
  • Good Morning America Book Club pick
  • A best book of the year: The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek

My Rating: ★★★★★

Set in the 1950s-1960s, Lessons in Chemistry tells the story of the unforgettable character of Elizabeth Zott, a strong, self-assured, self-educated woman who becomes a chemist at a male-dominated research institute. There, she meets and falls in love with another chemist, but life soon leaves her a single, jobless mother.

She reluctantly and unexpectedly becomes the star of a hit cooking show on TV, where she intermingles her love of science and challenges women to change the status quo. However, her entire career trajectory is an uphill battle against sexism, both explicit and implicit.

It’s the kind of book you think about for a long time, and it’s ripe for lots of thematic discussion. It’s an especially good book for mothers.

Book Club Ideas

Below are some Lessons in Chemistry food ideas and more to have fun at your book club meeting:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lessons in Chemistry good for book club?

Yes, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a Good Morning America book club pick popular with book clubs because it presents a strong female protagonist and several thought-provoking feminist topics to discuss, including her life as a single working mother during the 1950s and 1960s in America.

What is the theme of the book club Lessons in Chemistry?

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus primarily explores resilience in overcoming misogyny and grief. It also showcases themes of feminism, single parenthood, and self-actualization in America in the 1950s and 1960s.

What does the pencil symbolize in Lessons in Chemistry?

In Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, the pencil worn by Elizabeth Zott on the book cover symbolizes her defiance against 1960s gender norms and her determination to create her future on her own terms.

Why is dog named 6:30 in Lessons in Chemistry?

In Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, 6:30 the dog got his name from the time at which Elizabeth and Calvin found him.


These thought-provoking Lessons in Chemistry book club questions and ideas help you have a meaningful meeting and discussion of the reader-favorite book about feminism in America in the 1950s and 1960s.

It’s also the kind of book you can have a lot of fun with at book club, from watching the adaptation to cooking delectable treats.

Keep the discussion going! Share your thoughts on Lessons in Chemistry or any remaining questions you may have in the comments below.

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