Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This was a book that I hadn't planned on reading. I haven't been in the mood for nonfiction and the idea of reading about biology just didn't grab me. However, a friend of mine bought a copy of the book, and her excitement about it got me interested. Once I actually picked it up (and I felt this way just from the prologue), I knew what the hype was about.  This is a fascinating story.
It's the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman who unknowingly contributed cancer cells that became vital to the development of vaccines and scientific research. Her cells, the HeLa cells, are still used today. They were the world's first immortal human cells. There is a lot of science in this book, but Rebecca Skloot does an excellent job of making it easy to understand and incredibly interesting. She also tells the story of Henrietta's life and family history which has been pretty much unknown.
This is probably the best nonfiction book that I have read. Rebecca Skloot did an impressive job of finding buried information about Henrietta's life as well as her medical history. She states in the beginning that "no names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated". She has given us a beautiful and important book. Loved it. 5/5


TheBookGirl said...

This one is very popular in our used bookshop :)

Ελλάδα said...

I became aware of this book when it was assigned to my daughter in her freshman year of college. It interested me because it was based on the life of an unknown yet very important African-American woman.