The Radium Girls Review

Star Rating
Originally posted on the Happy Homo Book Club


Ever heard of Catherine Donohue, Grace Fryer or Katherine Schaub? No? And yet these women have likely saved you from enduring the same bone-splintering fate from radium poisoning.

Kate Moore’s “Radium Girls” gives us a very personal and up-front account of the labouring women of the early 20th century whose bodies literally crumbled in front of their loved ones, while the denial of radium poisoning by greedy businessmen continued to cost more women’s lives.

Definitely a must-read for everyone but of particular interest to anyone interested in Feminist and Marxist histories.


Most of us have come across the name radium at one point or another, whether it be in a school science lesson or through one of the many pop culture references to it. Before reading this book the only things I knew about radium were from the Fallout game franchise, in which you live in a world destroyed by nuclear fallout and try to survive attacks from “horribly irradiated” creatures such as feral ghouls. However, like many others, I knew almost nothing of the real world ‘Radium Fever’ that swept across the world during the early 20th century; a time which saw radium used in almost all everyday items such as a chocolate, water, toothpaste, cosmetics, and in clocks and watches.

dial-paintersEnter Kate Moore‘s “Radium Girls”, a richly woven historical account of America’s ‘shining women’ who worked in the dial-painting factories during the radium boom the early 20th century. Thought of as the luckiest girls on earth for getting to work with the ‘health miracle‘, hundreds of girls sat down to work every day at the factories where they diligently painted clock and watch faces in the very way in which they were shown to. Lip, Dip, Paint. Who would have thought that such a short and simple phrase could cast such a chill down one’s spine?

As a self-proclaimed “story-teller and non-academic”, Moore takes us on an illuminating historical journey into the horrifying consequences of such a simple act of putting a paintbrush to one’s lips and the diabolical cover-ups of their bone-cracking suffering by the very radium corporations that they ended up giving their lives to. As a student of History, I have read many dry historical accounts and have found that these often focus more on historical events than the lives of the very people who were involved in the making of those events. Frustrated with such an approach to a sensitive, emotive and hard-hitting injustice, Moore used her strengths as a storyteller to really focus on the experiences of the girl’s themselves. Following a number of women from the United States Radium Corporation and Radium Dial Corporation factories, we don’t just get to know these women but come to develop a surprising closeness with them as we watch them, literally, begin to disintegrate before the very eyes of their loved ones.

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Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga for the book community to share what we’ve added to our TBR lists or bought this week. Go here to find out more!

As well as taking part in StS’s over at the Happy Homo Book Club, I thought it would be good to bring it over here as I always seem to have a lot of books added to my TBR list every week and it looks too crowded to add them in with everyone else’s! Especially as over the past 2 weeks I have added something like 15 books to my list, so now you can find my extended list here instead!


Purchased 

I usually don’t get to purchase too many books due to money, but this week I stumbled across both the Kindle 99p summer sale and the new Prime reading service which allows Prime readers to read certain books for free!

These are the books I purchased in the sale:

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman // Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher // Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher // Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

And the ones I have from Prime Reader:

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson // Introducing Postmodernism: A Graphic Guide // Ms Marvel: Vol. 1 by Wilson Alphonia

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What’s to Come // July 2017

Hey again everyone! Look how good I’m being with posting consistently at the moment (although HA lets see how long this lasts for). 

I thought this would be a great time to post up my first outlook on what (I hope) the month of July might bring in terms of reading, playing and blogging. I’ve found it really hard to regularly blog without a schedule, so I’m hoping that doing this will actually give me some structure and something to aim for so that I can post more! So, here are my goals for this month, what are yours?


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Need to finish

590b776511ff5.imageI desperately need to finish Radium Girls. It’s an amazing ARC I got from Netgalley on the 22nd April about the women who worked as dial-painters in America during the 1920s, and who fought relentlessly for years for the Radium companies they worked for to take responsibility for the toxic radium poisoning many of the girls got, which lead to a horrendous amount of death and suffering. Whilst I’m really enjoying the book so far, I’m quite a slow reader and this seems to be a little bit on the lengthy side book. Having said that I’m now on 54% so hopefully I can finish it this month. When I first joined Netgalley I didn’t understand how it actually worked, so requested and was approved for loaaaaads of non-fiction books which always take me forever to read D: One day I’ll finish what I have, so I can actually request some fiction (and get approved for them).

I’m also in the middle of reading the amazing ‘The Spectacle’ edition of Skin Deep’s bi-annual publication which I really want to finish and write a glowing review for. For something which I got for a really reasonable £6, it’s packed full of amazing opinion pieces, art and design work, and interviews on issues of race and culture in an enjoyable, more accessible format than online blog posts and academic articles sometimes are.

TBR

In addition to Radium Girls, I’ve set myself 3 other books I would like to read at the very least. I bought I’ll Give You the Sun with my birthday gift card back in April (!!) but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I just got The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet for £1 on Amazon as I’ve wanted to read it for the past year and am jealous of everyone else getting to read the next instalment, A Closed and Common Orbit. I also want to finish one of my other Netgalley ARC’s, True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the end of the 20th Century. If I manage to finish all of those, maybe I can even slip The Ocean at the End of the Lane in!

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The Greek Gods Book Tag

This book tag was created by Book Bum and I found it on allonsythornraxx’s blog!

RULES

  • Pingback to me here so I can read all you posts!
  • You can use these graphics if you like, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
  • Tag as many people as you want, but please, share the love.

Click on the book titles beneath the covers to got the Goodreads pages!


Zeus

ZEUS – King of the Gods: your favourite book

ootp-uk-kids-cover-artHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling

I debated about putting this as my favourite book, given my distancing from the HP Universe thanks to Rowling’s insistent ‘death of the author’ mission. However, even when I can remove myself from the rest of the universe, I still get such warm glowy feels from this book and can’t deny that it’s probably one of my favourite books.

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Monthly Wrap Up // June 2017

Welcome to my first ever monthly wrap up for June!

I had so many plans of all the blogging I would do over the summer, but unfortunately June turned out to be a not very fruitful month for blogging. I feel like being involved in not one but two blogs, as a blogging noob, was a bit of an ambitious project as I’ve found it quite difficult to manage posting content for both this blog and corralling the other 3 members of the Happy Homo Book Club every week. Not to mention trying to do this on top of desperately applying for jobs as my last student loan payment begins to drain away, write my dissertation, deal with everyday life, leaving the house every so often, coping with my depression & anxiety, and of course, trying to keep up with reading and gaming! *gasps for breath* But, it is what it is. I’ll use it as a learning experience and try to work around it for next month. So here’s what I *did* manage this month.


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Juliet Takes a Breath – ★★★☆☆

My first and only review to date. It took me over 2 months to finish JTAB due to struggling with some of the content, but overall JTAB was an amazing YA book about the intersections of race, gender, queerness, feminism, coming out and coming of age.

The Girl of Ink and Stars – ★★★★☆

My partner bought me this as a present for finishing my exams in May. I loved the beautiful cover and maps inside the book, and following the journey of cartographer’s daughter Isabella Riosse as she ventures through the mysterious Forgotten Territories of her island in search of her missing friend. It didn’t take me long to get through this book and I loved every second of it.
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