Emma- The Radium Girls

radium girlsTitle: The Radium Girls
Author: Kate Moore
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Release Date: May, 2017

Lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint…

In the early years of the twentieth century, radium was considered “the wonder drug”. There were radium tonics, radium spas, radium pills, and, most importantly, luminous, radium-covered watches. Orange, New Jersey: The Maggia sisters; the Smith sisters; Katherine Schaub and her her cousin, Irene Rudolph; Marguerite and Sarah Carlough; Grace Fryer; Edna Bolz Hussman; Hazel Vincent Kuser; Helen Quinlan.

Ottowa, Illinois: Catherine Wolfe Donohue; Charlotte Nevins Purcell; Frances and Marguerite Glacinski; Inez Vallat; Peg Looney; Ella Cruse; Pearl Payne. All dial painters at The United States Radium Corporation and Radium Dial, Inc. All dead of radium poisoning. All started with a loose tooth, a pain in her hip, a baby that should have been perfectly healthy born dead. All started with lip, dip, paint. This is the true story of the women who painted watch faces with Undark, a radium-based paint, in WW1, and the pandemonium that followed. The lawsuits brought against the company by the “Ghost Girls” changed the face of labor rights in ways we don’t even recognize today, but that are brought to light in Kate Moore’s masterpiece, The Radium Girls.

If I were asked to sum this book up in two words, I would say absolutely terrifying. Those are the only words to describe the chills still rippling up my back from hearing what happened to Catherine Donohue, Grace Fryer, and so many others. This is the most amazing, harrowing, and descriptive piece of nonfiction I have ever read, and I don’t think it could get any better. You just want to strangle the radium corporation executives, as well as their company doctors, lawyers, and plant superintendents. The way they completely ignored the girls’ pleas for help, as if they really were just ghost girls, was so horrible. The one thing I have to warn readers about is that the details can get very graphic. Understandably, as the girls were actually referred to as “The Living Dead,” but still very disturbing.

This book definitely qualifies as the best book I have ever read, nonfiction or otherwise. I DO NOT recommend this book to people younger than 12 years old, as it is extremely disturbing. However, I think everyone 12 or older should read this, as it is amazing. On a scale of ten, I give this book a 10/10. The Radium Girls describes in harrowing detail how the radium dial painters went from America’s patriotic “glowing girls,” to America’s “living corpses.” Kate Moore’s glowing image of the price of patriotism vividly represents the evils of corporate America and its affects on others.

Lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint, lip, dip, paint…