Book Club tackles Toms River by Dan Fagin

By Jodi Zimmerman

Toms River takes the reader on an emotional ride through scientific history as the hunt for cancer clusters in New Jersey is explored. The unexpected birth of coal tar related dye – unexpectedly vibrant and in high demand – alters industrial waste in ways that will haunt numerous communities for decades. Fagin ensures that all viewpoints are represented but the reader is left with irrefutable evidence that humans will risk their own lives and the lives of others in the quest for profit.

The reader is also confronted with evidence that self-regulation and reporting does not work. The water quality of most Americans is at risk if left to undermanned governmental agencies essentially asleep at the wheel. The ocean is not exempt from our willful and naive insistence that dilution is the solution.

People make the story memorable and give hope for action. The charming Hippies in the Kitchen chapter is a welcome break from scientific method issues and can remind us that as citizens we have obligations to act on our own behalf to prevent profit from trumping our health and future.

Join us Monday, November 16 at 5:45 PM at the Moline Public Library to discuss Toms River by Dan Fagin.

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