Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus – “Some things needed to stay in the past because the past was the only place they made sense.”

Bonnie Garmus brings to the present a horrible past that every day threatens to become the reality, again. In a lighter tone than in The Handmaids Tale, Bonnie Garmus puts her main character through a series of horrific events that no woman should relate to, but sadly they do.

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Set in the 50s, Elizabeth is an outsider, a free mind, a woman with drive, a woman with an opinion, a brain, and an education that many men would have rather her not have. At the same time, she became the treasure for those who take advantage and would steal from her to succeed. In a patriarchy where men believe themselves the owners of the world, women will always be prey, and it is time for us to fight back and not let the governments and conservatives take us back to the dark ages.

Ironically, Bonnie comments throughout the pages of the novel how women are constantly protecting men’s fragility at their cost, even when they do not even know it. Women have to stop existing when becoming a mother and won’t be “allowed” to be both at the same time, while men will be praised for being a father and taking almost no responsibility. Remember that in most cases all the responsibilities of motherhood, housewife, and professional fall into one person and the 50/50 many men argue is a delusional dream.

Sexual and psychological violence, abuse of power, treason, and gossip plague the novel, and the main character’s life. However, as Bonnie Garmus builds the novel and overwhelms Elizabeth she also gives us peace by slowly creating a support network. In a world infested with poisonous insects, Bonnie reminds us that sometimes there are good people in the world that will help us in our most tragic moments.

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