A startling debut about class and race, Lakewood evokes a terrifying world of medical experimentation–part The Handmaid’s Tale, part The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, and the full extent of the family debt is revealed, the black millennial drops out of college to support her family and takes a job in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan.
On paper, her new job is too good to be true. High paying. No out of pocket medical expenses. A free place to live. All Lena has to do is participate in a secret program–and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood. An eye drop that makes brown eyes blue, a medication that could be a cure for dementia, golden pills promised to make all bad thoughts go away.
The discoveries made in Lakewood, Lena is told, will change the world–but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. As the truths of the program reveal themselves, Lena learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of her family.
Provocative and thrilling, Lakewood is a breathtaking novel that takes an unflinching look at the moral dilemmas many working-class families face, and the horror that has been forced on black bodies in the name of science.
Megan Giddings is a features editor at The Rumpus, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and a contributing editor at Boulevard. She is a recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant for feminist fiction. Her short stories have been published in Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, and Iowa Review. Megan holds degrees from University of Michigan and Indiana University. She lives in Michigan.
Paperback. 288 pages.