Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Non-Fiction Book Club Read

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

I have to be honest, when I saw this was the July selection for my face to face book group, I groaned. A book about science? About cells? How boring. I am so glad I didn't toss it aside. Becasue this book had me from the beginning. First I was drawn in by wanting to know who Henrietta Lacks was. The heartbreaking story of a women raised in deplorable conditions in the deep south. Married and abused by her cousin. Moved north to Baltimore and the struggles they faced day and in and out. All before receiving the devasting blow of a fatal cancer diagnosis. The the author goes into the science. How the cells were grown, multiplied, distributed, and used for so many amazing scientific and medical discoveries. Skllot tells the science and the stry behind her research in a way that is accessible and interesting to the layman.

In the end, I was so glad I read this book. I knew nothing of the HeLa cells and all they have done for science. It brought up great discussion about the ethics behind medical research and taught me about horrifying research done on African Americans in the 1950's and 1960's. It was a fascinating and enlightening read.

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