The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Synopsis: HeLa cells helped to make history in the medical world. But who was the person behind the cells? Rebecca Skloot goes on a long (and not always successful) adventure to find out more about Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells are still prevalent in labs throughout the world more than 60 years after her death.

Thoughts: I dig healthcare. After growing up with two doctor parents and then spending the past four and a half years working at a hospital, I’d say I know quite a lot about the industry. Modern medicine blows me away – I think we’ve come so far in such a short amount of time, and I can’t wait to see what advances are coming. Now having said all that, I have to admit that this book shook me a little bit. With all the benefits that medicine provides us with, you tend to skim over an important subject – at what cost were these developments made? And this book addresses just that.

So clearly, I thought The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks contained extremely fascinating subject matter. Unfortunately the book itself fell a tad short of my expectations. There were a lot of unanswered questions at the close of the book. I just sort of felt that if Skloot was going to commit to doing this big exposé, she should have finished telling the story. Although, the book was starting to teeter onto the “too long” side, so maybe it was a conscious choice to leave out some of the details.

Overall Grade: B

Up Next: Wayside Story Trilogy by Louis Sacher

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Filed under Mediocre Marvins

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