The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Kathryn’s Pick: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I would like to personally mention that I rarely pick up non-fiction books for casual reading, but the story that is told in this book is one I thoroughly enjoyed. I also believe the topics touched on in this book are important to bring to the attention of all readers. This novel follows the life of Henrietta Lacks, or to scientists, HeLa. She was a poor African American woman whose cells became one of medicine’s most important tools. Ms. Lacks visited Johns Hopkins to receive treatment for the cervical cancer that was destroying her body and unbeknownst to her, during her biopsy doctors took samples of her cells that would one day be known all over the world. This book not only describes Henrietta’s life, but it also provides information on the HeLa cells and their lack of recognition, the pain this has caused her remaining family, and a touch of debate on the ethical issues regarding patient rights when it comes to cell collection.

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