I read Chemistry a while ago but forgot what it was really about. Grabbed it at the right time too because I’d been reading a 600 page book for over a week, and Weike Wang‘s novel only took me 24 hours. The sentences are simple and move along quickly. The paragraphs are often only a sentence or two themselves. The voice is of a woman in the middle of her PhD program, while also dealing with a relationship and a history with her mother that lands her in therapy.
Actually she also lands herself out of her PhD program too. She smashes some vials and isn’t excelling enough so she gets kicked out of the program. Well now she’s just really good at math and science but now what? She turns to tutoring, which is relatable. She also lets her boyfriend move from Boston to Ohio without her. Like he invites her to go and wants to get married and stuff but she’s like no. For no real reason except I think to not follow after a guy like her mother did.
Her dad moved the three of them from China to the U.S. when she was five so that he could do a PhD program. So the narrator sees her mother go through a lot. Keeping her feelings private, being miserable with her husband. Learning English and sometimes leaving for a weeks at a time. The book is basically the narrator trying to understand who she is and what she’s supposed to be doing based on who her mother is and what her mother did.
Best line: You want to learn how to get through life? Pay attention. -Weike Wang p 43