Imagine you are starting out at your new job. You are required to paint some watches using a particular type of paint which you were explicitly told it was safe. Imagine having a nice, well paid easy to do a job that allows you, a young woman, to care for her family.
Now imagine you suddenly begin to lose your teeth, and your jawbone was starting to hurt as well, and soon enough you are going through an unavailable pain due to cancer invading your body, and no one is sure why this is happening to you and all of your female co-workers. Or that was until it is discovered the painting substance you were using is nothing less than radium.
It might sound like a horrible tale of fiction, and in many ways, we all wish it was fiction, but it isn’t. It is real, it happened, and great, beautiful young women died because of it.
In The Radium Girls: They paid with their lives. Their final fight was for justice, we get to read about the heart-breaking stories of the women who were infected by radium paint without them knowing so, and in the middle of fighting a horrible disease, they were fighting for justice.
This book is surprisingly emotional, as you begin to read everything these women have to endure, how poorly they were treated, the lies the big corporations told them, and how, in the middle of it all, they managed to be strong until the very last minute.
It is indeed a shocking, sad tale about a dark time in history. In a moment where women were considered second-class citizens, a big company takes advantage of these naive women and results in painful deaths caused by being exposed to radium.
This novel allows us to get an insight of their world, of how such an easy task as dipping and painting cost them their lives and their whole futures. It hurts to read such things happened, but it is a necessary ready, that’s for sure. It is a way to keep their memories alive, to make sure nobody forgets their names, and what it happened to them.
Author Kate Moore does a stunning work at writing about the cover-ups, the lies and legal battles these women (the ones who managed to outlive the others) had to go through, while also dealing with the excruciating pain of cancer. Positively heart-breaking but wonderful book to read.
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