The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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First, apologies for not updating as often as I would like. Two reasons have kept me away from this blog: finishing up my last semester of grad school and finishing Skloot’s book.

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTTA LACKS tells the story of the woman behind HeLa, a cancerous cell line taken without permission from an African-American woman in the 1950’s by her white oncologist. That woman’s name is Henrietta Lacks, and while Henrietta has been dead for over 50 years, her cell lines continue to live on. Skloot takes readers through slavery, Jim Crow laws, and Tuskegee experiments; discusses issues of race and racism, bioethics, and  medical discoveries; and, personalizes this story with tales of Henrietta and her family. Above all else, this is Deborah’s (Henrietta’s daughter) story inasmuch as it is her mother’s. Skloot does a wonderful job balancing cold, science lingo with warm, human emotions.

4 out of 5 stars

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