Review for Radium Girls
I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange of an honest review.
I already had my eyes on this one for a while and I am so excited that I could finally read this one! I love graphic novels about historical themes/events that happened in the past, and I vaguely can remember reading about these girls (and others like them).
In this one we follow a group of girls they are all the greatest of friends, I loved how they took the new girl under their wings and she became fast friends with them. I loved seeing them have a great time together and do all sorts of things together.
They work at a local watch factory, a very prestigious job that all of them are excited to be part of. However, from the moment I saw the work techniques (wet with your lips, dip, paint and so on) and the mention of Radium… I just wanted to step in the book. Tell the girls that this is bad. That the glowing their bodies is doing isn’t a teehee fun one. That making your teeth glow as you go to a party? The fun nickname of Ghost Girls. Isn’t what you want. I was almost crying because I knew that these girls would find out the horrible consequences very soon.
And horrible it is. Teeth start hurting. People start having pains. Legs are deforming. Other parts are going bad. And soon death starts. We see how the friend group is affected, how there are arguments when their first friend died. Which was horrific, but later we find out how all those lies were done mostly by the company and that apparently even the friends weren’t immune to them. I was just so sad for these girls, because at first they thought it was just nothing, but then each one of them is affected. It starts with teeth. Then with pain. With pregnancies going wrong. Then some of them end up in bed forever. I was horrified. Because people KNEW. People KNEW. The doctor once tried to warn them but as the company did their things the girls didn’t think of it further and apparently the good doctor didn’t think of doing anything (and yes, I wanted to kick him in his butt, so much).
I loved that, despite everything, these girls kept being fierce. Kept the hope up. Laughed at times when they could. They were determined to get their dues. To show the world the wrongs that happened with the Radium Girls. That they aren’t the only ones. Everyone is affected. The people who work in these factories, but also people outside who use radium as a product for health/beauty. They want to warn people. And I was just cheering for them, praying, hoping.
The art was gorgeous and I love how big part of the story it was. At times it told the story. I really love the art style even though at times I had a hard time keeping track of who is who as sometimes they looked very similar. And I was stunned when things went south and we got a picture of the affected girl as the chapter openings/endings. I was almost crying as that just broke my heart.
All in all, this is HIGHLY recommended. Bring tissues. Get something to throw, because you will want that. Read this!
4 thoughts on “Review for Radium Girls”
I listened to this on audiobook last year, and my heart still hurts for them when I think about it.
It is heartbreaking. That no one told them while the scientists/higher-ups knew about that something wasn’t right. 🙁
I read this several years ago and it was horrifyingly interesting. Can’t believe I didn’t know about the topic before, but I’m glad the author put it more in the public’s eye.
I had heard about it, but hadn’t really had the chance to delve into it, so this graphic novel was a perfect way for me to get into the story. I hope that more people will read it, these women went through so much and people should know about it.