Bonnie Garmus Was Turned Down 98 Times Before Writing Her Celebrated Debut Novel

Tamron Hall Show
31 May 202204:46
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TLDRAuthor Bonnie Garmus joins the show to discuss her debut novel, 'Lessons in Chemistry,' a satirical comedy set in the 1960s. Despite 98 rejections, the book has gained attention, with an adaptation by Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson for Apple Plus. Garmus shares her inspiration, drawing from her mother's era, and the challenges women faced in the science field at the time. The conversation highlights the progress made and the journey ahead for women in science.

  • πŸ“š Author Bonnie Garmus faced 98 rejections before achieving success with her debut novel.
  • πŸŽ‰ 'Lessons in Chemistry' is a satirical comedy compared to 'The Big Bang Theory' meets 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'.
  • 🌟 The novel has gained attention from Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, who is set to executive produce and star in an Apple Plus series based on the book.
  • πŸ“ Bonnie Garmus wrote the first chapter as a response to a bad day at work, turning her anger into the story.
  • πŸš€ The book's setting is the 1960s, a time of significant societal change and the beginning of the women's movement.
  • πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬ The protagonist, Elizabeth Zott, is a scientist who faces the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field.
  • πŸ’Ό Elizabeth's journey involves losing her research job and ending up with a cooking show, reflecting the limited opportunities for women at the time.
  • πŸ” Bonnie Garmus conducted research on the era to understand the limitations her mother and other women faced.
  • 🌐 The novel highlights both the progress made in women's rights and the ongoing challenges, resonating with contemporary readers and professionals.
  • 🎁 The audience at the show received a copy of 'Lessons in Chemistry', indicating its popularity and anticipated success.
  • πŸ† The book's success and its adaptation into a series underscore the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.
Q & A
  • What was the initial reception to Bonnie Garmus's debut novel?

    -Bonnie Garmus's debut novel was rejected 98 times before it gained recognition.

  • How did Bonnie Garmus describe her inspiration for writing 'Lessons in Chemistry'?

    -Bonnie Garmus was inspired to write 'Lessons in Chemistry' after having a bad day at work, where she decided to turn her anger into the first chapter of the book.

  • How does the host describe the tone of 'Lessons in Chemistry'?

    -The host describes the tone of 'Lessons in Chemistry' as having an infectious absurdity.

  • Which magazine compared Bonnie Garmus's novel to 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'?

    -Parade Magazine compared 'Lessons in Chemistry' to 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'.

  • What is the main theme of 'Lessons in Chemistry'?

    -The main theme of 'Lessons in Chemistry' is the satirical comedy portrayal of a woman's struggle to find her purpose in a society that limits her ambitions, set in the 1960s.

  • How does the protagonist, Elizabeth, feel about her life at the beginning of the story?

    -At the beginning of the story, Elizabeth feels that her life is over because she is not allowed to pursue her passion for science due to societal expectations of women at the time.

  • What historical context does Bonnie Garmus explore in 'Lessons in Chemistry'?

    -Bonnie Garmus explores the limitations and challenges women faced in the 1960s, particularly in the science field, and how these societal norms have evolved over time.

  • What is the significance of the protagonist being a scientist in the story?

    -The protagonist being a scientist is significant because it highlights the gender inequality and the barriers women faced in pursuing careers in male-dominated fields like science during the 1960s.

  • Which Oscar-winning actress is involved in the adaptation of 'Lessons in Chemistry'?

    -Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson is executive producing and starring in an Apple Plus series based on 'Lessons in Chemistry'.

  • What was Bonnie Garmus's goal in writing about the era of the 1960s?

    -Bonnie Garmus aimed to recognize the progress made in women's rights while also highlighting that there is still a long way to go, especially in the field of science.

  • How does Bonnie Garmus feel about the current state of women in science after writing the book?

    -Bonnie Garmus finds it disturbing that not much has changed for women in science since the era she portrayed in the book, indicating that there is still significant progress needed.

πŸŽ‰ Resilience and Success: Bonnie Garmus' Journey

This paragraph introduces author Bonnie Garmus, whose debut novel was initially rejected 98 times but eventually gained recognition. Her book, 'Lessons in Chemistry,' is a satirical comedy compared to 'The Big Bang Theory' meets 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' It has garnered attention from Oscar-winning actress Bree Larson, who is set to executive produce and star in an Apple Plus series based on the novel. Garmus shares her experience of turning a bad day at work into the first chapter of her book, highlighting the perseverance required to continue writing despite adversity.

πŸ’‘Bonnie Garmus
Bonnie Garmus is the author of the debut novel 'Lessons in Chemistry,' which gained significant attention and is being adapted into an Apple Plus series by Oscar-winning actress Bree Larson. Her journey to success was marked by 98 rejections, but her perseverance led to a celebrated publication that resonates with themes of female empowerment and societal expectations.
πŸ’‘Lessons in Chemistry
This is the title of Bonnie Garmus's debut satirical comedy novel, described as a blend of 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' The book explores the life of a 1960s mother and scientist, Elizabeth Zott, who faces societal limitations and expectations placed on women during that era.
πŸ’‘Satirist Comedy
A satirical comedy is a genre of literature or film that uses humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. In 'Lessons in Chemistry,' the satire is applied to the societal expectations and limitations placed on women in the 1960s.
πŸ’‘Bree Larson
Bree Larson is an Oscar-winning actress who is set to executive produce and star in an Apple Plus series based on Bonnie Garmus's novel 'Lessons in Chemistry.' Her involvement signifies the novel's potential for success and its appeal to a broader audience.
πŸ’‘1960s Era
The 1960s era refers to the historical period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, often associated with significant cultural, political, and social change. In the context of 'Lessons in Chemistry,' the 1960s setting is crucial as it provides a backdrop for exploring the challenges and limitations faced by women, particularly in the realm of science and professional careers.
πŸ’‘Gender Roles
Gender roles refer to the behaviors, activities, and roles considered appropriate for men and women in a society. In 'Lessons in Chemistry,' the novel examines the restrictive gender roles of the 1960s, where women were often relegated to domestic duties and not encouraged to pursue careers, especially in fields like science.
Adversity refers to difficult or painful circumstances that test a person's resilience and determination. In the context of the video, Bonnie Garmus faced adversity in the form of 98 rejections before achieving success with her novel, demonstrating her perseverance and commitment to her craft.
Persistence is the quality of continuing to try to achieve a goal despite difficulties or setbacks. In the video, Bonnie Garmus's persistence is exemplified by her refusal to give up on her writing despite numerous rejections, ultimately leading to the publication and success of 'Lessons in Chemistry.'
Empowerment refers to the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in the pursuit of personal goals. In 'Lessons in Chemistry,' the protagonist's journey reflects the theme of empowerment as she navigates a male-dominated field and societal constraints to assert her identity and ambitions.
πŸ’‘Cultural Norms
Cultural norms are the shared expectations and rules that dictate behavior within a society. The video script discusses the cultural norms of the 1960s, particularly those related to women's roles and the limitations they faced, which are central to the narrative of 'Lessons in Chemistry.'
Television, often referred to as TV, is a medium used for entertainment, news, and communication. In the context of the video, television is mentioned as a domain where women could have a presence, specifically through cooking shows, reflecting the limited opportunities available to them at the time.

Author Bonnie Garmus' debut novel was rejected 98 times before gaining recognition.

Her novel is described as 'The Big Bang Theory meets The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel', a satirical comedy titled 'Lessons in Chemistry'.

Oscar-winning actress Bree Larson is executive producing and starring in an Apple Plus series based on 'Lessons in Chemistry'.

Garmus began writing after a bad day at work, using her anger to create the first chapter of her novel.

The book showcases the era of the 1960s and the challenges women faced, particularly in the science field.

The protagonist, Elizabeth, is a scientist who is let go from her research job and ends up hosting a cooking show, reflecting the limited opportunities for women at the time.

Garmus' research into the era helped her understand the limitations her mother lived under and the progress that has been made since then.

Despite progress, Garmus found that many women in science still feel there is a long way to go in terms of equality.

The novel has resonated with readers, especially women in science, for its portrayal of the challenges faced by women in the 1960s.

Garmus' story is a testament to perseverance, as she continued to write despite numerous rejections.

The book's setting and character development provide a vivid picture of the societal norms and expectations of the 1960s.

Garmus' personal connection to the era through her mother's experiences influenced the authenticity of the story.

The novel's success has been a significant achievement for Garmus, especially considering her initial struggles with rejection.

The audience's reception of 'Lessons in Chemistry' has been overwhelmingly positive, with many finding it relatable and insightful.

The book's exploration of gender roles and expectations in the 1960s serves as a reminder of how far society has come and how far it still has to go.

Garmus' journey from rejection to success is an inspiring story that demonstrates the power of perseverance and the importance of staying true to one's vision.

The collaboration with Bree Larson for the adaptation of 'Lessons in Chemistry' into a series is a significant milestone for Garmus and her novel.

The novel's portrayal of the 1960s and the challenges faced by women has sparked conversations about the evolution of gender roles and societal expectations.

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