Monday, March 7, 2011
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady Review and GIVEAWAY
Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.
Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stumbling into.
Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all . . .
Told from the varied perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters and written with the flair of a native Floridian, this dark comedy does not disappoint.
My take: This is a quirky read. By quirky I mean entertaining in a dark, somewhat disturbing way. Marylou planned to murder Dr. Spriggs but instead decides to destroy his family which is on the brink of disaster, anyway. Dr. Spriggs however, doesn't know what's going on most of the time. Marylou carries out our darkest compulsions for getting even and possesses some creativity.
Fifty years, a class action suit, a formal apology from Federal Government and the death of her eight year old child from cancer later, 77 year old Mary Ahearn is looking for a piece of her own back. She has searched for and found the obstetrician who gave her those lethal vitamins, Dr. Wilson Spriggs. Mary is determined to have her vengeance by killing Dr. Spriggs but she is not quite sure how to best to pull it off. She moves to Tallahassee to be near the doctor. She will ingratiate herself into his life somehow and is confident that a plan will present itself.
Dr. Spriggs is living in Florida with his daughter who is ready to flee the family. Although still married, her husband is disturbing, her children exhibit Asperger's Syndrome (one is currently building a bomb in the shed). Dr. Spriggs remembers his childhood but can't recall what he ate for breakfast.
Mary quickly infiltrates the Spriggs home, but killing the Doctor is a little more difficult. It's not that Mary lacks the will to do the deed, not at all. The opportunity for murder is elusive and killing Dr. Sprigg without being able to make him understand why has it's frustrations. So Mary turns her clever attention to destroying his family and that becomes very easy. Mary finds and exploits the weaknesses of each family member. It can be somewhat uncomfortable as a reader to watch these events unfold not only because some of the consequences of Mary's manipulations are repugnant but because at the same time they can be funny.
The author delves into grief, revenge, right and wrong. She explores the darker side of human nature and uses a sweet, old lady who is really an angry and bitter woman grieving over the death of her 8 year old daughter 50 years later. Is she justified in her revenge? That is an interesting question. I'll let you decide.
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