Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Review: LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus


Rating: 1/5 stars

DNF at 5%. 

I picked up this book solely because it’s Barnes and Noble’s 2022 Book of the Year and I wanted to see what was so special about it.

But then in chapter three, only a half hour into the audiobook, there’s a graphic rape scene and I had to put the book down. I cannot read books involving sexual assault and had I known this book contained that I wouldn’t have picked it up at all.

The worst part was that after it happened, the main character is talking to a police officer and he asks her, “Why don’t you tell me what you think happened?” And then he asks her if she would like to make a statement of regret (for stabbing the guy with a pencil) because it will look better for her. And she said it was self-defense because she was attacked and he didn’t believe her, of course not because this book is set in the 1950s.

I don’t care how good or funny Lessons in Chemistry supposedly is, or what the main character accomplishes or overcomes throughout the novel; I will not continue reading a book that contains sexual assault in such a misogynistic and unchallenged way, regardless of what year the book is set in. I haven’t seen anyone else talk about this scene that takes place so early on in the story, but it is there, and it made me very uncomfortable and upset while I was reading, and it is the sole reason why I will not be continuing with the book.

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