Are you ready to have the "Radioactive" song stuck in your head for the rest of the day? Because thats a real possibility.
First things first, part of the cover glows in the dark! Which is fun, though puzzling when you see it when you are stumbling out to the kitchen for a glass of water and see something glowing in the living room. So, that's my PSA about that.
This is basically a biography of Marie that is interspersed with shorter stories about radiation and it's affect on history (the 7 Mile Island disaster, the Chernobyl disaster, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) I'm not going to recount the whole thing but it includes: heartbreak, working your butt off to get what you want, love,a horrifyingly public accident resulting in death, all kinds of scientific discoveries and the Nazis (because those a-holes ruin everything).
The most horrifying part of this story is hearing the details of Marie's health declining due to her exposure to radiation. At one point she kept a vial of it in her apron pocket, and she and Pierre would keep a vial of it near their bed. It was almost 24 hour exposure. When I read that I was like "Marie noooooooooooooooooo!". It's kind of amazing she lived as long as she did.
I think my favorite part of the story is that Marie named polonium after her beloved homeland of Poland. She wanted to bring recognition to her native land and was a little bit sad that the discovery of radiation overshadowed polonium for that reason. So in the middle of the GN they stop and devote two pages to all the wonderful things and people who come from Poland: Chopin, Copernicus, all kinds of other achievements and even flowers that are native to Poland. I think she would have loved the Poland shout out.
(If you have more interest in Chernobyl I highly recommend the book "All that is Solid Melts into Air" by Darragh McKeon.)
A few complaints. A lot of the time the text was hard to read. It would be like blue text on a blue background. I felt like an old person because I had to hold the thing under a lamp to read it sometimes. Also the pictures were not what I had expected at all, like I kind of feel like the pictures didn't add to the story. They were a little too abstract for my taste but maybe you will think they are awesome!
Overall I thought this was so interesting and I learned a lot, though there were definitely some sad bits! A high 3 out of 5 stars!