Livingston Loves Lit: Summer Read Part I

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Well, we are about halfway through the summer and I am about halfway through our latest book, “Full Body Burden” by Kristen Iversen. Not exactly a light beach read. In fact it’s a pretty heavy, disturbing story but well worth reading.

1. This book contains two narratives: memoir and historical research of Rocky Flats and the nuclear industry. How do the two story lines influence your reading of the book? Do you find one storyline more compelling than the other?

2.  What themes are common to both narratives?

3. Protesters, who were arrested for trespassing in 1978, used “choice of evils” as their defense. The law states that an act is justified if it is done to prevent a greater, imminent evil or crime. The judge ruled that the law isn’t applicable in their case. Did you agree with his reasoning?

1.     I find the two narratives distinct yet woven together seamlessly. The memoir makes the story of Rocky Flats all the more compelling because we now see it in context of real people, real families living there. When cancer cases are reported they aren’t merely “cases”, they are children we have grown to know through her storytelling. I thought I’d be more drawn to the memoir and while I really enjoy those parts, I find myself antsy to return to the Rocky Flat story to see what happens next and if and how the secrets will finally be revealed

2.     Secrets seem to be the main theme running through both stories. And denial of what is right in front of you whether it is drinking or the reckless release of plutonium into the community’s air, soil and water.

3.     It may be hindsight is 20/20, but it now seems like a perfectly legitimate defense. The release of toxic waste into the community sure seems like a greater, imminent evil than trespassing on property.