Wednesday, April 5, 2017

RADIUM GIRLS... they glowed in the dark

Whoa. Today's entry is very different from the previous one. THE RADIUM GIRLS: THE DARK STORY OF AMERICA'S SHINING WOMEN by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks, 5/2/17) is at once captivating and devastating, an emotionally tough book to read. 

In the late 1910s and early 1920s, young women were hired to apply radium-infused glow-in-the-dark paint to watch and clock dials. Because the surfaces they had to paint were so small, almost all of the women used the "lip-dip-paint" technique wherein they used their lips to make the brush as fine as possible. The employers, mainly the United States Radium Corporation (USRC), weren't upfront with their workers that safety precautions needed to be used when working with radium. As a result, many young women suffered terribly with radium poisoning: cancerous tumors in their bones, rotting jaws, stiff and sore joints, and ultimately death. Their search for a cause and treatment took a while and by the time someone figured out what was going in and brought suit, USRC claimed that the statute of limitations had passed. 

Reading about the girl's suffering and ongoing search for help, both medical and legal, is heartbreaking but compelling. I found myself racing through the book in the hopes I would read that they not only lived to see the end of their legal case but also won! This is really great narrative nonfiction and I highly recommend it!

*Note: I read a digital advance reviewer copy via Edelweiss.

No comments:

Post a Comment