I picked this book up because it's one of the required readings for my Fall classes and I figured I'd get a head start on it. This book is actually qu...moreI picked this book up because it's one of the required readings for my Fall classes and I figured I'd get a head start on it. This book is actually quite fascinating and I enjoyed it a lot. I didn't know going in, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that Henrietta Lacks lived in Baltimore, and the focus of the study of her cells originated in John's Hopkins, not exceptionally far from where I live.
I enjoyed the way the author wrote this book. Much of the subject matter is explanations of the scientific work itself and if you don't have interest in that sort of thing, it is easy to grow bored. The author easily jumped around from story-telling Henrietta's life, to what was going on with her cells, to her descendants, and so on.
When I first heard about the story, I was a little skeptical on the subject matter. I couldn't really wrap my brain around the family's angry reaction. As the author points out several times, that's the way it was back then. Of course, it would be treated differently today, but the way the family reacted to the information seemed irrational to me. Wanting money from the scientists and such. As I read, I began to see that my initial response to the book was incorrect. Some of her children did want money and compensation for it, but Henrietta's daughter Deborah didn't, she just wanted to KNOW, which is respectable.
Towards the end of the book, the story sort of dragged as Henrietta's story concluded and Deborah's and the book became the focus, but overall, I enjoyed the book a lot.(less)
I'd like to give this book four stars, but at the end, I have to give it three, but it's more like a 3.5 (why don't they have half stars?)
Stealing Bud...moreI'd like to give this book four stars, but at the end, I have to give it three, but it's more like a 3.5 (why don't they have half stars?)
Stealing Buddha's Dinner is about a Vietnamese girl who's family fled from their home to live in America. All Bich wants to do is be an American, and also to be invisible. I really liked her character, mostly because she reminds me of how I remember myself as a child. I can see myself being friends with her, sharing books and crawling through bushes to play. Reading about how a foreigner trying to fit into the 'American Culture' shines a new light on things taken for granted.
The memoir was one of her childhood, but at the end, she wrote about herself as a college student visiting her real mother and later traveling to Vietnam to 'find her roots'. There's a good 5-10 year gap that is missing from her novel. I feel the end when she's older was a good closing for the book, but I would have been happy with a few more chapters to cover the later teenage years. That is why I can't give it four stars, I wanted to read more, instead of loosing a few years to shorten the novel.(less)
I read this book for my English class among a collection of other memoirs. Because the book was written in diary format, it gave it an interesting loo...moreI read this book for my English class among a collection of other memoirs. Because the book was written in diary format, it gave it an interesting look and was also an extremely fast read. It was enjoyable (I didn't put it down out of boredom or have to force myself through it), but nothing ever actually happened. It's the most "normal" of all the memoirs assigned in that it's just a diary of a young teenager and her life growing up in Louisiana.
It was an enjoyable break from the 'traumatic childhood' memoirs, but probably not one I'll read again.(less)
My Anthropology class used this as one of my reading topics this semester. I found the content of the book very interesting and the discussions that c...moreMy Anthropology class used this as one of my reading topics this semester. I found the content of the book very interesting and the discussions that came out of the book equally so.
In this book, Nancy Scheper-Hughes delves into the lives of the people of Bom Jesus (name changed for privacy) and how they and their children are starving to death every day. It goes very deep into the reasons behind the daily actions of the people living in Bom Jesus and the ways they handle the trauma of death that surrounds them constantly.(less)