Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Who, you might ask, is Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) and why is she the subject of a book? On the surface, this short-lived African American Virginian seems an unlikely candidate for immortality. The most remarkable thing about her, some might argue, is that she had ten children during her thirty-one years on earth. Actually, we all owe Ms. Lacks a great debt and some of us owe her our lives. As Rebecca Skloot tells us in this riveting human story, Henrietta was the involuntary donor of cells from her cancerous tumors that have been cultured to create an immortal cell line for medical research. These so-called HeLa cells have not only generated billions of dollars for the medical industry; they have helped uncover secrets of cancers, viruses, fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping.

As usual, I love the OFFICIAL TRAILER sites for these books! Brilliant!! Watch it!

My review: 3 stars
Very interesting. I had no idea that this kind of thing happened in the scientific community, but why would I not consider it? Of course, scientists have to get their research media from some where. I don't have a problem with the lack of consent - no one was asked in that day (there was no racism here). The author showed a very definite slant toward the Lackses, however was as objective as possible when displaying her data and all sides of the story. The fact that she felt an affinity for this family in no way hindered her research or caused her to cover any uncomfortable truths that made these people human. I found some of the scientific data to be a bit too much, but it was appropriate to add meat to the matter and substantive fact to the human side of the story. This was non-fiction written for the fiction-lover. Easy to read and easy to understand.

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