This is the first review I've ever been compelled to write. I also bought "Radioactive" after reading the New York Times' glowing praise. I couldn't put it down. After I read it, I couldn't go to sleep. I promptly ordered a dozen copies for friends, and wished I had the means to buy this book for everyone I know. This book changed my perspective on art, history, science and storytelling.
First, the little things: the author created her own type based on the title pages of the New York Public Library; through evident hard work and determination, she tracked down astonishing anecdotes, photographs, gravestone rubbings, x-rays, and little known facts; the bibliography includes a breathtaking spectrum of sources, from interviews, lectures, biographies (in English and French), scientific journals, classified documents, correspondence, maps, notebooks, newspapers, scientific society proceedings; the illustrations are stunning. What unfolds on pages 83 - 85 is profoundly affecting and viscerally unforgettable. I am embarrassed by the number of superlatives in this paragraph.
Now, the big thing: this book, like the story it tells, is a miracle.
The reviewer below is entitled to his opinion. But may I offer a counterpoint. On page 94 Marie recalls a day in the meadows with her family, picking flowers. And there is an illustration of buttercups. Pages later, when Marie learns that Pierre is dead: "The flowers he had picked in the country remained fresh on the table." And then, let's say for curiosity's sake, you flip to the Notes and see this citation: "flowers...on the table." Curie Archives, microfilm, 4300.
Perhaps you will "learn" "more" from a Wikipedia article. But I have rarely encountered a book that has made me feel so strongly and care more deeply about a topic (an entire world, really) that, prior to opening the cover, I had little interest in. Buy this book at once if you are a humanist; if you know anyone -- a journalist, artist, doctor, scientist -- looking for inspiration; if you believe in the confounding collision of serendipity, discovery, destruction and love; if you've never read a graphic novel; if there is a curious young woman in your life who you suspect might one day change the world with her intellect, or desperately wishes to. This book earns and deserves the attention of those of us who live beyond Wikipedia where stories are told, hearts swell and break, the buttercups matter (No. The buttercups are essential.), and man discovers a way to make mutant roses and glowing tubes of fairy light that change the course of history.