Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review

Radium Halos

Author: Shelley Stout

Publisher : LibriFiles

ISBN: 9781448696222

North Carolina author Shelly Stout takes you into the past in Radium Halos to explore the tragic story of the Radium Dial Painters of the 1920’s. While a work of fiction, Stout based the book on true events and creates a lush tale that is both horrific and somehow humorous.

In 1923 16-year-old Helen Waterman and her sister Violet leave their home in little Belmont, North Carolina to travel to Ottawa, Illinois to gain work at the Radium Dial Company. As workers there, they paint watch and clock faces with glow-in-the-dark radium paint in order to help our troops. The predominantly female work force is told the paint is harmless and is even encouraged to lick their brushes to keep them sharp. Fifty years later Helen, interred in a mental hospital, tells her story of the people she has lost and the painful secret they all shared.

With her first person narrative, Stout adds a lightness and comedy to the terrible events that unfold around our characters. She draws you into their world, a frighteningly different time not too long in our own past. Radium Halos deftly blends historical fact and fiction and gives voice to thousands of women whose stories should never be forgotten.

Shelley Stout will be at Uwharrie Books Saturday June 19, 2010 10-2 to sign her book Radium Halos.

Radium Halos is available at Uwharrie Books in Locust.

Shawn Chappelle, owner Uwharrie Books

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