Quirky new novel involving a cooking show

On NPR, Scott Simon interviewed the author of the best-selling novel, Lessons in Chemistry. Set in the 1950’s, it’s the tale of a female chemist, career stymied by male chauvinism, who winds up as presenter of California TV’s Supper at Six (sign-off: “Children, set the table. Mother needs a moment to herself.”) Refusing to kowtow to societal norms, she calls salt sodium chloride, aspirin acetylsalicylic acid, etc. How to poison your husband. Housewives love her; she’s a huge hit. There’s a dog, Six-Thirty, who knows hundreds of words of English, his thoughts included in the book.

It’s not in chronological order, which IMO made it somewhat redundant. It’s possible that the tale won’t strike a chord with readers too young for Medicare, but that’s not me. I am enjoying the audiobook version, other than wondering why, apparently, nobody “proof-listens” to them beforehand. The British narrator, Miranda Raison, is the star of many a British TV show. She does a great job with various American accents, other than an occasional “shedyule”. Exception: Jack LaLanne, a name well-known to Baby Boomers. Time and again, she says la-lan, rather than la-lane. Cringeworthy!


Thanks, that sounds like a fun read. I see they are also making a tv series based on the book.

I’m halfway through Lessons in Chemistry. What a joy to read. I am in love with Six-Thirty. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

1 Like