“A must read, especially for those interested in science and medicine and all the injustices that have resulted in the name of science.”Rebecca A wrote this review Friday, September 3, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A fascinating book that raises a number of questions about ethics and cells. Worth reading. Henrietta's family life is a story in and of itsself. ”Molly C wrote this review Friday, September 3, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Important story of gender, race, class, and science.”Carol R wrote this review Thursday, September 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
Audio version narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin
I can’t recall any other non-fiction book which held my attention so completely from beginning to end. Initially Rebecca Skloot set out to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks, the poor black woman whose cancerous cells provided the medium for much of current biological knowledge and technical expertise. Over the course of ten years of research, Skloot becomes closely associated with Henrietta’s family, in particular, her daughter, Deborah. Lacks family history touches many of the saddest aspects of racial discrimination and exploitation.
As we all benefit from the advances in science provided in part from Henrietta’s unknowing contribution, her children and grandchildren still bear the scars of the past. Skloot makes much of the fact that while Henrietta’s cells advanced medical science exponentially, her remaining family cannot afford adequate medical care. As a teacher, I was struck by another aspect to the problem. Skloot portrays the Lacks family respectfully. For the most part they appear as intelligent people. But they are intelligent people with a shocking ignorance of basic scientific principles. Add the lack of education to their well justified lack of trust, it’s not surprising that the Lacks family harbors great anger and resentment toward the medical establishment.
The audio performance of this book was very well done. It held my attention even through explanations of legal precedent and discussions of bioethics. An added bonus was an interview with the author on the last CD.
“better than i thought it was going to be”linda p wrote this review Sunday, August 29, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Outstanding. One of those books I want to pass on to others and make everyone read. A great introduction to biology, disease, Baltimore, and the early 20th Century. There were places where it bogged down and repeated ideas, but, overall, I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it highly.”Natalie R wrote this review Sunday, August 29, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Fascinating story and information. Could have been edited a bit tighter. Trace unexpected and remarkable scientific and medical phenomena. Excellent subject for book group discussion.”Debby S wrote this review Saturday, August 28, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“She found a way to make a very scientific story also very personal and intriguing.”kbrock wrote this review Saturday, August 28, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No