Audiobook Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Rebecca Skloot writes of Henrietta Lacks, a young, poor black woman who died of ovarian cancer back in the early fifties. Prior to her death, her cells were taken from her without her knowledge or consent and miraculously became the first human cells ever to reproduce in a lab setting. Her cells were called HeLa cells and are still purchased today by scientists all over the world. Instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Ms. Lacks' family was never included in her role and importance to the world.

Henrietta's life is examined and that of her family. Questions are raised as to why Ms. Lacks and/or her family were never informed of the cell retrieval by the scientists. Also, questioned was the fact that the Lacks family did not benefit financially from the sale of billions of her cells.

This book is a huge bestseller and loved by many.

I am a little embarrassed to say that I was not as captivated by it as many reviewers were. Maybe it was  because of the heavy science component. Or could it have been the sadness of the Lacks Family? I'm not quite sure. I didn't suck however and was read well by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin. Our book club is going to discuss it at the end of this month. I'll be interested to hear what others got out of it. 

Anybody out there read it yet?

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Perle said...

It was an excellent read. The author came to local library here to speak and we had a great q&a session.