Review: The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

Elizabeth Stuckey-French

320 pages

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: February 2011

Source: Publisher


By the time Marylou Ahearn finally moved into the little ranch house in Tallahassee, she’d spent countless hours trying to come up with the best way to kill Wilson Spriggs. The only firm decision she’d made, however was that proximity was crucial. You couldn’t kill someone if you lived in a different state. So she flew down from Memphis to Tallahassee and bought a house on the edge of Wilson’s neighborhood.

In her twenties and pregnant with her first child, Marylou Ahearn was unknowingly part of a government experiment to study the effects of radiation. Marylou was one of hundreds of pregnant women who were given radioactive cocktails and told that it was vitamins to keep them healthy. The effects of the cocktails were devastating. Fifty years later and Marylou is finally getting the chance to get revenge on Wilson Spriggs, the doctor in charge of the study. She moves to a different state and the same neighborhood as Spriggs, changes her name, and begins to wreck havoc on the life of Spriggs and his family.

It wasn’t until I was in the middle of the book that I found out that the government study that’s talked about is based on one that really happened in 1940s Tennessee. Hundreds of poor, white, pregnant women were lied to and misled about the cocktails were given. Doctors, nurses, and the government didn’t even think to consider the lives of these women and their unborn children.

The book may sound sad but it’s not. It’s amazing to me how the author was able to take such a serious situation that involves death and revenge and turn it into a hilarious story. Once Marylou moves to Tallahassee where Spriggs and his family are at, she learns that the doctor has Alzheimer’s and is slowly losing his memory. How can you get revenge on your enemy who probably doesn’t even remember what he’s done to you? Marylou decides to get her revenge through his family, a group of oddballs who are dealing with Asperger’s syndrome, menopause, workaholism, and a nuclear breeder reactor. Getting revenge on this family may be harder than she thought.

If you enjoy quirky stories, Southern novels, or just strong female characters, this is a book to pick up.


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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21 Responses to Review: The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

  1. Aths says:

    I heard about this book last week, but I didn’t realize either that this study really happened. How horrifying! But you have me curious when you say that this book was hilarious. I love books like that – with a tragic matter told in a hilarious tone!

  2. Samantha says:

    This is the first that I’ve heard of this book but it actually sounds like a good read. I had never heard of this study either (how horrible!). Thanks for the great review!

  3. Kathleen says:

    This is one that I don’t think I would have picked up on my own but after reading your review I would definitely give it a try!

  4. Kailana says:

    Never heard of this before, but it does sound good. Maybe one day!

  5. heidenkind says:

    Wow, this sounds like it could be a really good read! I love the title.

  6. You have definitely piqued my interest with this one. Love the premise, though it is horrifying that something like this could ever happen.

  7. Ash says:

    I heard about this book on Books on the Nightstand but now I know I have to read it. It just sounds interesting and fun. Adding to my wishlist.

  8. Carrie K. says:

    I’m sad to say that it’s not hard for me to imagine our government doing that to women. So sad. On the other hand, this book sounds fascinating!

  9. bermudaonion says:

    I love all of the things you mentioned so it sounds like this book was meant for me!

  10. Frances says:

    Not sure that I will read this one but horrified at the thought that poor women and their unborn children would be experimented upon like this. What was the outcome for their children?

    • Vasilly says:

      As a result of the experiment, three children died later on. It’s sad and horrible and scary that so many medical experiments were done on innocent people in the name of “research”.

  11. zibilee says:

    I love the sound of this book and the fact that the author uses humor to deflect what is really a horrible situation makes it all that more intriguing to me. I am glad to hear it was such a good read!

  12. Intriguing premise for a book! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  13. Wow — what a horrible, horrible experiment. But it sounds like quite a good book, and I love the cover.

  14. vivienne says:

    Horrifying and hilarious! I want this book!

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  16. Wow, it’s a bit horrific that this actually happened!Looks like a good read, though and I adore the cover. :O)

  17. As you know, I have this on my list to read this week. I absolutely love the title, and cover, and reading your review makes me want to read it even more!

  18. Andi says:

    Wow! OK, the real part is definitely sad. The story in the book does sound like a lot of fun. What a GREAT cover! I would be drawn to this one immediately.

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  20. bookmagic says:

    I’m intrigued. I like when authors make humor out of something horrible (though sad that it was a real situation) I am definitely am adding this to my list

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