Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2018 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.
In “Chemistry: A Novel” our protagonist is a bit troubled and carries a lot of baggage, but damn if she doesn’t also create a lively and compelling journey through a rather tumultuous period in her life. She is second-guessing her career choice and her relationship choice and yet she flits from moment to moment in a way that has us (her readers) celebrating all her thoughts. Eric, her longtime boyfriend is an almost flawless (at least in her eyes) partner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they perfect for each other just now. She has been a science wiz kid all her life, but that doesn’t mean that chemistry is a perfect career path for her. Her parents have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to provide her with an opportunity at the American Dream, but that doesn’t mean that she owes them everything.
None of these important decisions are easy for a young adult, and that’s on full display here. But what’s also on display is the character’s lively internal life that helps us understand that the “important decisions” don’t really define a life. Can someone be happy being a tutor instead of a PhD? Quite possibly. Does that diminished status make her mind any less active and valuable? I don’t think so.
Three words that describe this book: Introspective, Lively, Compelling
You might want to pick this book up if: You’ve ever questioned your career path and life choices. If you’ve ever had a “quarter-life crises.”