Book Clubbin’: 8 Discussion Questions for ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ by Bonnie Garmus

For this month’s Book Clubbin’ feature, we’re taking a look at the buzzy Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

Lessons in Chemistry was Bonnie Garmus’ debut novel, and it was released to a wave of praise (us included). Not only was it nominated for two Goodreads’ Choice Awards, but it took home the crown for Best Debut Novel.

This listen follows Chemist Elizabeth Zott as she navigates the world of STEM as a woman in the 60s. Chemistry follows her everywhere: from falling in love to hosting a cooking show, and Elizabeth finds a way to inspire change wherever she goes.

If you’re looking for a vibrant listen full of characters that you’ll fall in love with and that will surely inspire you, then this is the one for you. And if you’re picking up Lessons in Chemistry for your book club this month, keep reading for our discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.


1) Why do you think Elizabeth agreed to the cooking show? And what made it so popular among women across the country?

2) The theme of sexism was prevalent throughout the entire audiobook. Though the book is set in the 60s, some of these experiences may still hit close to home for readers. How are these issues still persisting today? What can we learn from Elizabeth and how she handled her situation?

3) Discuss the effect that Clavin’s death had on Elizabeth and how it altered the trajectory of her life.

4) Why do you think Elizabeth turned down Calvin’s proposal?

5) Why do you think Bonnie Garmus included the perspective of their dog, Six-Thirty?

6) What did you think about the reveal that it was Calvin’s mother who had funded Elizabeth’s scientific research?

7) What do you think is next for Elizabeth and Mad?

8) Are you looking forward to the TV-series adaptation coming soon? Do you agree with who they chose to cast for Elizabeth? Who did you have in mind?

Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.

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