*Strong, Anthony. Chemistry for Beginners. Touchstone: S. & S. Sept. 2009. c.304p. ISBN 978-1-4391-0847-5. pap. $14.00. Fiction.

Dr. Steven J. Fisher of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Oxford heads a promising research project dealing with female sexual dysfunction. He is just weeks away from announcing a miracle drug at a major conference of neurobiologists when Annie, an anorgasmic Ph.D. candidate, asks to take part in the study. Her perplexing responses to stimulation will throw a wrench in the study and launch Fisher on a collision course with love. Written as a scientific paper, complete with numbered sections, footnotes, and illustrations, alternating with occasional blogs from Annie, this sparkling romantic comedy (the term in this context seems almost perversely illogical) contains some of the most original courting scenes since Leander swam the Hellespont for Hero and the funniest description of an orgasm since the classic Meg Ryan scene in When Harry Met Sally. Verdict Strong—a pseudonymous Anthony Capella (The Various Flavors of Coffee)—offers a delightful takeoff on the sort of clinical study that combines Schrödinger’s cat, Gödel’s undecidability theorem, fuzzy logic, quantum incompleteness physics, and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to create a Unified Theory of Bafflement. Very funny and highly recommended, even for science-averse romantics.

Library Journal, vol. 134, no. 12 (July 2009), 93.

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