Book Club Reflection: What The Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

9 Mar

I’m glad to say we had a better discussion in our book club this month than we did last time. I think we all felt a lot more vested in this book than we have in some of our fiction books. With Flint being so close to home, most of us related to something in the book as a personal experience we’d shared or known someone who’d shared it.

Hanna picked a great title for her book. She’s talking about a lack of knowledge, not being able to ‘see’ something because you don’t know to look for it. But lead is also colorless, tasteless, and odorless, so it was something the eye couldn’t see. I wondered how much of the writing (and title) were her doing and how much assistance she might have gotten from a ghostwriter.

Hanna had to be very brave to do what she did. I think she was very lucky to have her brother prepare her for the personal attacks she received. We agreed she had a good network to support her when she spoke out. We had a member describe her as ‘hyper’ because she was doing so many things at the same time. One member spent time in medical school and felt that she was typical of many doctors. To get through school, they have to balance a lot of things in their lives and learn to function at a level like Hanna. She also felt that many doctors tend to lose their empathy because they’re dealing with illness and death so often. Hanna didn’t give that impression. She also came off as rather humble. We noticed she didn’t have Dr. or MD in her author byline.

None of us were aware that DC had a similar lead crisis. We were shocked, especially that more people didn’t suffer legal consequences. It seemed appropriate that some of the players in the Flint crisis faced criminal charges. Though we were surprised the governor didn’t. Snyder was so well-liked before this crisis and took a huge fall from grace. Many of us had the impression that he was more culpable than those who were charged. Many of them were likely following orders from higher up the food chain.

Some of the facts that hit us the hardest were about the developmental future of these children. Hanna talked about the PTSD that children can have from their environment and the toxic stress that their environment can create. It was devastating to hear about the home for neglected children with 5,000 ppb levels. With all the stressors in those children’s lives, they don’t have much of a chance.

I look forward to talking about this book with my other club in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see what a different group has to say about the same text.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

3 Responses to “Book Club Reflection: What The Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha”

  1. silverbuttonbooks March 9, 2020 at 6:07 PM #

    I really want to read this book – I have a friend who was in charge of organic chemistry for the state of Illinois for years and the stories he told of the environmental impacts…. whew. Great review!

    Like

    • Sam March 9, 2020 at 6:27 PM #

      Thanks! I’ll have another one up soon with more opinions. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Blogger Hop | What’s On My Book Blog – Tessa Talks Books - March 13, 2020

    […] Sam @ Taking on a World of Words shared her Book Club reflection on the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of stakeholders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water: https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/2020/03/09/book-club-reflection-what-the-eyes-dont-see-by-mona… […]

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