the wives of los alamos

title: The Wives of Los Alamos

author: TaraShea Nesbit

genre: Fiction, atomic bomb, secrets

dates read: April 13th – April 14th

review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

summary: With no central wife of Los Alamos telling the story, rather, the whole group, readers get a glimpse of what it was like to be a wife, mother, and woman in the secretive community that housed the creators of the atomic bomb.  They have babies, watch their children grow, feel distant from their husbands who don’t tell them what they’re doing, they gossip, cry, and laugh together.  It is lonely, it is poignant, it is life in Los Alamos.

personal thoughts: I had read reviews before I started reading so was forewarned about the odd writing style.  It was a little awkward at times, reading about “we” rather than “I” or “her.”  Definitely a unique style that can be difficult to get used to.  I do understand wanting to convey a larger message without getting bogged down with individual stories all the time.  I thought this was a captivating way to give a voice to all the women of Los Alamos, and a beautiful tribute to their lives and sacrifices.  Having read about the place from Richard Feynmen’s perspective, I was curious to see the other side, and I was not disappointed.

favorite quotes:
“It was a landmark that mocked us – a water tower that only sometimes held enough water for us to bathe or flush our toilets.” p. 27, 28

“We were a group of people connecting both honestly and dishonestly, appearing composed at dusk and bedraggled at daybreak, committed, whether we wanted it or not, to share conditions of need, agitation, and sometimes joy, which is to say: we were a community.” p. 77

“Some of us had parents who lived for decades at this low simmer, some of us had parents who might, on a good day, a holiday, say, of for the birth of a grandchild, finally play a loving tune on top of that hum, but they never, ever, forgot the solemn chord.” p. 154

“And we felt the deflation that comes when one gets what one has wanted: it is not quite what it seemed it would be.” p. 214

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