Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is both the story of how HeLa cells revolutionized medical research and the story of the woman those cells came from – Henrietta Lacks.

I liked how the author alternated between the scientific HeLa story and the story of Henrietta Lacks and her descendants every other chapter. The author does a great job of explaining things in terms that non-scientists can understand – I don’t have a mind for science at all and I actually understood the scientific part of the story.

This book was a selection for my book club Conversati-Ohm and I thought it was a great book club pick. There are so many discussion points – the club had one of our liveliest discussions. The topic we talked about the most was the ethical issues surrounding the taking of and sometimes profiting from tissues samples from patients without their knowledge and/or consent. Also, Henrietta’s descendents, especially her daughter Deborah, were very interesting and complex people and that lead to a lot of discussion as well.

This is a great non-fiction book about science for non-scientific people.

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