Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was fascinating. I learned so much about the science and the history of the science that led us to our current knowledge of the field. I was often in shock at the treatment of women and African-Americans, yet also proud of how far we have come after learning the mistakes from this era.
I found the story of Henrietta's family to be even more intriguing. We saw the barriers that Skloot had to break down just to get the family to trust her. Once she gained that trust, she still experienced setbacks. In addition, she faced challenges on her own and with the family to find the truth behind the life of Henrietta and what happened with her miracle cells.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks shares the story of science and medicine, but as you read the final sentences, you realize it is actually so much more than that. It is about relationships -- family relationships, doctor-patient relationships, and human relationships in general. It is a book I think everyone should read. It is an important reminder of our history - how far we have come and how far we still have to go.
I have read this book for multiple book clubs, and each one has brought up different topics to discuss and consider. Topics of conversation seem to be endless and despite that I have already discussed Skloot's book in two different book clubs, I look forward to chatting about it again with yet another online book club in the coming weeks.
For fellow book clubbers, I highly recommend that you check out Skloot's website for additional resources and updated information on the family and status of HeLa research.
Have you dove into Skloot's story of Henrietta Lacks? What were your thoughts on the science, the history, and/or the family?