Book Reviews: Paris Apartment, Lessons in Chemistry & Again, Rachel

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Goodreads Blurb: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with–of all things–her mind. True chemistry results. But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

my take: 4.25 out of 5. so much to discuss here. This was a weird one because there were parts of the story when I hadn’t fully gotten on board and felt a bit slow, and then at others I am like this is brilliant and its a feminist manifesto disguised as a fabulous fiction story. I loved the Elizabeth, a woman ahead of her time and how I loved that. I also loved that this is a story about female empowerment. A woman making a life for herself in hard times. IT is sad but uplifting. Optimistic but nostalgic. Contradictions abound but the relationships forged are wonderful. Highly recommend

a quote that felt close to home: “Because while musical prodigies are always celebrated, early readers aren’t. And that’s because early readers are only good at something others will eventually be good at, too. So being first isn’t special – it’s just annoying.

other good one:

Courage is the root of change – and change is what we’re chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make this pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others’ opinions of what you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion. Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future. When you go home today, ask yourself what YOU will change. And then get started.”

The Paris Apartment

Goodreads blurb: Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there. The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

My take: 3.75 out of 5. It was a good book, not a great book, and I definitely loved Lucy Foley’s other ventures much more, this one felt a bit flat. IT has the same structure of multiple characters opening up the possibilities of suspects widely, but here it was less efficient. I definitely did not even see why it needed to be set in Paris, is funny how it being in the title made it seem relevant but it really isn’t. There is however one twist that I found amazing but the end just felt a bit flat. A fun thriller, but read her others first.

Rachel, Again

Goodreads blurb: In her twenties, Rachel Walsh was a mess. Since her spell in rehab, though, she’s come a long way on the road to recovery – and now, she’s ready to go back to where it all began. But this time, the student has become the teacher. She used to hate the staff in charge of treating her addiction. Now, she’s one of them.

Rachel’s finally got herself on track – but life never stops being messy.

And when an old flame resurfaces, will she go back to who she once was? Or nearing fifty, can she find herself all over again?

my take: 4 out of 5. It felt great to revisit the Walsh Sisters. Marian Keyes was a trusted companion in my youth, and along with Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner provided so many comforting chicklit reads growing up, the genre owes so much to them So when I knew there was a new Walsh sisters book I had to get on it. First order of business was that I had read the original over 20 years ago so if I don’t recall the books I read last month imagine 20 years. So i heard the audiobook of Rachel’s Holiday to prepare for this revisit. It’s funny, ni the reread, I really enjoyed the book, but definitely did not enjoy it as much as I had before ( am i older and wiser now?) where I had said it was a must read from her. However I loved having a continuation of the story 20 years after. Revisiting what happened after the book’s happily ever after. I love that life deviated from where you thought it would, because that’s reality. That things even if they are great can fail. People can fail. Relationships can fail. But that its one day at a time and life keeps going forward. I also love how its not clear cut. Things are messy, decisions are hard and the older you get the harder it is to balance all the messy parts of your life in search of happiness. Also big points to female romantic heroines that are over 40, we need more of those around!

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