Sunday, January 23, 2011

2: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is written by Rebecca Skloot. 

Full Disclosure: I read very little nonfiction. However, this was recommended to me by that handy algorithm at Amazon and I snapped it up and WHOA. I am so glad I did.

This story talks about the life of Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cells were harvested without her consent or knowledge and grown around the world in petri dishes. The family never knew, she died shortly after the cells were harvested, and the story deals with a reporter talking with the family about the cells and trying to find out more about their mother.

I really enjoyed the book. I don’t completely understand the author’s purpose – was the family wanting money? Is the author giving money to the family from the proceeds of her book? Were they just wanting answers? The part that interested me the most dealt with the oldest daughter, who died in a mental institution (you understand it to be at the hands of someone) and was actually, not mentally insane, but just deaf. But, you never get the whole story – it leaves you hanging in that area. 

However, I really enjoyed this book. It flowed well, I liked the science parts and I enjoyed reading about the family today. I highly recommend this book. I give it an 8/10.

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