Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Review--The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  I enjoyed reading it for a couple of different reasons.  I understand cell lines and labs a lot better than I did before I read this book.  I really don't care to read a scientific book and to become well informed on the subject.  I would just like to understand in some small measure what is being talked about when this is on the news.  This book gave me just enough information, without making my eyes cross in frustration.

The other and most important reason that I enjoyed this book was that it brought recognition to a woman who unknowingly made a tremendous contribution to scientific knowledge.  Considering all that her cells have done for us, it is only fitting that we know something about her life. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer before I was born.  She was a poor black woman in Baltimore.  Her cells live on even today and are used to study all kinds of things.  The Lacks family has suffered through lack of education and opportunity and continues to suffer to this day.  The last half of the book mainly focused on the author's relationship with the family members especially the youngest daughter Deborah.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies and is interested in scientific developments in the twentieth century.  It might also interest those who are absorbed by the social problems encountered by ethnic groups in this country.

1 comment:

Tami said...

That sounds like a very interesting read. I should take advantage of my summer, which has a bit of down time here and there, and read something for just me. What I find interesting, is I really miss my weekly Bible study homework. I guess it goes to show that other things do shape us, but nothing feeds my soul like the Bible.