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review 2017-04-14 03:53
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women - Kate Moore

What a sad, somber, horrific and mesmerizing read. Teenage girls, some even younger, were told by their employers that radium could not hurt you. So, yes, dip that brush into the radium paint, put the brush in your mouth, get a tip and paint the dials. Paint carefully now, we don't want to waste the paint.

One company even did medical tests on their employees, but never allowed the girls to see the results. The executives saw the results, they knew what was going on and that their employees were being poisoned.

This was all happening around WWI. Years later when these women started having "problems" the radium companies refused to own up to anything. This book tells some of their stories. The good days when they were happy little girls and the bad days when their bodies were full of poison. Most of the women started having problems with their teeth. The radium would insert itself right into the bones of their mouths losing teeth and jaw bones. It affected others in their legs or backs.

This book is a true story and not for the faint of heart. It is also a great book in that the author lets you see these girls/women before and after. While they were sharing each other's misery and tears, I was right there with them doing the same. Well, the tears part anyway. I couldn't imagine the pain or misery.

Definitely one of the best books I've read this year.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2016-10-29 14:17
The Radium Girls
The Radium Girls: They Paid with Their Lives. The Final Fight Was for Justice. - Kate Moore

[I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley.]

This book was fairly difficult for me to read. Fascinating, but difficult, because of its theme (and I must say immediately, this is entirely personal): on the one hand, it was really interesting; on the other hand, having teeth/jaw problems myself, reading some of the symptoms the girls manifested triggered my own fears (even though, obviously, my own problems are totally minor compared to theirs!). And that was before the book got to the cancer parts. It made up for very strange reading sessions, where I'd pick up my Kindle, read a couple of pages, leave it, go back to it 2 minutes later because I still wanted to know what would follow, rinse and repeat. Very weird—but, as I mentioned, and to be fair, entirely personal.

One may wonder why I picked this book, knowing my fears about part of its themes—obviously I should've expected the latter. This said, having previously read a couple of articles about the Radium Girls, I simply wanted to know more: about when exactly it happened, over how many years, how they finally got justice, more details about the hurdles, and so on. And in that regard, the book definitely doesn't disappoint. Or perhaps it will an actual historian of that period and of that specific theme, but let's be honest, I doubt the audience for such works is entirely made up of professional researchers anyway. So there's much to learn in these pages about the Radium Girls, and it provides much more than a mere introduction to the topic.

The writing style was one of the things that made the book interesting to read, by humanising the accounts of what happened to the Radium Girls: I doubt a dry, clinical style would have worked here, all the more because there were quite a few pages dedicated to describing symptoms of radium poisoning and court sessions. You can feel that the author was genuinely passionate about her topic, also in a more literary way, and wanted to show the women involved as real people, with their lives, husbands, families, and (quashed) hopes for the future, and not just as examples of the consequences of radium poisoning. This is even more poignant because it happened in the Roaring Twenties, with the glamour and glitz I think they project in many people's minds: the girls appeared at first as so young, in love with life and dancing and going out, and it was so easy to picture them as happy-go-lucky flappers who never deserved such a fate (not that anyone deserves it, mind you).

This gave a humane dimension to what could otherwise have been a bit boring to read, I suppose—and provided for reading sections, instead of huge info-dumps. On the downside, I found this style sometimes cheesy; it worked in some chapters/paragraphs, it didn't in others, when it felt like the author was "laying it a bit too thick", so to speak. But that's a minor complain on my part.

Also, since I got the ebook version for review, I didn't get to see the picture that are inserted in the printed book . Too bad for me.

Conclusion: 4 stars. If you're like me, this may trigger a few fears, yet the book and the light it sheds on a not-so-well-known part of US history made it all worth it.

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video 2014-07-07 17:06
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Radium Girls - Amanda Gowin
White Noise - Don DeLillo
Incarnations - Chris Deal

What I read:

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (just a few dozen pages left, so I'm considering it a win)
  • Radium Girls by Amanda Gowin

 

What I'll be reading:

  • White Noise by Don DeLillo (seriously this time)
  • Incarnations by Chris Deal

 

What I'll be drinking:

  • Rubaeus Raspberry Ale from Founders Brewing Co.
  • Love Child #4 from Boulevard Brewing Co.
  • Championship Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co.
  • Imperial Biscotti Break from Evil Twin
  • Imperial Doughnut Break from Evil Twin

 

 

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review 2014-06-28 20:35
Radium Girls - Amanda Gowin

This makes two videos in a row in which I wear a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds shirt and drink Sexy Betty Imperial Stout. No, I’m not a slob drunk; I simply recorded two videos in a row.

 

Amanda Gowin’s Radium Girls is all sorts of interesting. It’s weird, it’s heartfelt, it’s wavering, it’s beautiful, it’s poetic, and it’s a bunch of other things I can’t think of right now because I’m tired.


You should buy this book!

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video 2014-05-28 04:39

I'm back with another convoluted way to destroy books. Once again I took to Facebook to ask for some suggestions about how best to destroy a book. This time: A goat. I'm with you, I never thought of a goat as much of a destruction machine, but apparently Amanda Gowin does. Watch as some very finicky goats refuse the delicious meal I offer them.

 

Book destroyed: Radium Girls by Amanda Gowin. Buy it!: http://www.amazon.com/Radium-Girls-Amanda-Gowin/dp/0692211683

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