The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

Published by: Crown Publishers (2010)

Henrietta Lacks, born in Virginia, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. She was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital where a sample of her cancer cells were taken for testing without her knowledge. After she died, her cancer cells multiplied and scientists were able to use her cells for curing diseases all over the world.

After the facts are laid down, the author is sent on a goose chase to contact Deborah Lacks, the only remaining daughter of the Lacks clan, who didn’t know anything about her mother and cells until the 1970’s. The story is compelling with every chapter about the Lacks’ family history and their financial and medical plight albeit the DNA from cells that have made billions from companies worldwide for research.

A poignant tale about race, family, cell research, and patients’ rights.

Not being a big reader of non-fiction fare as this, I was surprised I enjoyed the book so much. I am inspired to read more non-fiction novels in this field and many more. Such a well-written novel!

And congratulations to Rebecca for selling the movie rights to the book. As much as I’m intrigued about the cinematic version of this story, I am also reluctant to think optimistically on the creative team behind this project. This film could be awful or done really well. I will hope for the best. In the meantime, check out this book! It’s great!

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