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“Dirt Cheap ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 10/04/2006

Dirt Cheap
Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Curbstone, Press, $15.95, 370 pp.
ISBN 1931896291

Three years ago tenured professor Nicholas Baran flew to California to get a bone marrow transplant donated from his brother when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He has since gone into remission but he believes that he contracted cancer because of where he lives; Yellow Springs Heights is sitting on toxic waste courtesy of the Hometown Chemical Company that was sold to a company that ironically manufactures cancer drugs.

Nick spends a large part of his day testing samples of homes where people with cancer have died and gathering the names and addresses of people who are sick with cancer hoping to prove that leaking canisters of toxic waste poisoned the water supply, the wells and the land. When his cancer comes back, Nick is determined to stay alive until he can get all the records so the survivors or the families of those who died can file a class action against the company.

Bringing down the company that brought so much misery into peoples' lives becomes Nick's mission in life and like many champions who fight the good fight; Nick becomes a hero in spite of himself. Readers will cry for him, sympathize with his plight and believe he is the kind of person most people want to be. DIRT CHEAP could have been a melancholy, haunting book but author Lyn Miller-Lachmann makes her theme the thriving of the human spirit in the face of extreme pain and hardship.

Harriet Klausner

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