Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Henrietta Lacks was a poor farmer who is better known as HeLa in the science community. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. During a procedure to treat her cancer, cells were taken without her knowledge and became the first "immortal" human cells to grow in culture. Though she died not long after her diagnosis, her cells continue to live and have helped scientists make huge discoveries.

I thought Henrietta's story was well told by Skloot. She balanced the story behind the woman and the story of the science. I was concerned that the science part would be dull and dry. But that was not the case. Skloot talked about the science and the discoveries in a way that was interesting.

What I think made the book great was not just how evenly Skloot told the story about the science and about Henrietta and her family and how the cells affected them but how Skloot inserted her own story in the book. The story of her journey to discover the woman behind the first immortal human cells and her family. Some may find the inclusion of Skloot's story unnecessary but I thought it made the book more personable. Without it, the book would have been more clinical and not nearly as interesting.

It is a very interesting read.

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion for this review.

Next month - Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

1 comment:

Katy Kaszynski said...

It was hard to put this book down... most of the time.