Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review - The Wives of Los Alamos

I was interested to read The Wives of Los Alamos, both because I think it's cool to read historical fiction from the perspective of the women, and because my grandparents-in-law live in Los Alamos.  I always enjoy reading books set in places I've visited.  It helps me imagine the location better.  

This book was okay.  The most noteworthy thing about it is that it's written in the first person plural, which is kind of awkward to track with.  Sentences like "We were from the mountains, or the midwest, or the big city, or Europe" were the norm.  So when you have a sentence that says the 10 places these women are from, and then a paragraph that describes the 10 different arrival scenarios, you don't know who had what experience.  I think the point was to keep them as a collective group, and not get caught up in which story was Mary's and which story was Sally's.  But I wanted to know who was who throughout the book.  It felt less personal to have one group instead of individuals.  

The story itself was very interesting, which of course it is, because it was such a crazy time in history, and they all had different levels of knowledge about what was happening at the lab, and different opinions about the morality of it all.  

I was reminded of another book written in the first person plural that I read a few years ago - The Buddha in the Attic.  I felt the same way about that book.  Somehow it feels dehumanizing to lump all these women into one group.  

Have you read either of these books?  Or anything else in the first person plural?  What did you think? 

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