Delusions of Gender had been on my to-read list for a very long time, so I was more than happy to pick up a copy from my library. I really like how Co...moreDelusions of Gender had been on my to-read list for a very long time, so I was more than happy to pick up a copy from my library. I really like how Cordelia writes in a way that is simple and easy to understand for the reader who might not be a neuroscientist. She writes with so much intelligence and isn't afraid to add humor in her discussion. I also like how she sprinkles a bit of sarcasm here and there. I find it extremely amazing that she was able to read The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, which I attempted to read before but found to be extremely sexist and guilty of false claims.
Of course, knowledge is power, but like the saying goes, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. There are some parts in this book that made me pretty mad. Reading about women's experiences at work with sexual harassment and discrimination in the science and math fields is so infuriating and it's something I will never get used to. The fact that they are supposed to shut up about it or else they are seen as overly sensitive is just pure BS.
The only thing that I'm disappointed about is the fact that she doesn't really talk about transgender women and transgender men. Sexism is definitely detrimental to the transgender community because it reinforced traditional gender roles, a topic that she spoke about extensively throughout the book. There is a mention of a transgender woman in the book, but it's a brief reference. I would have loved to see her discussion about how gender variant and transgender youth are affected by their environment and the media. But perhaps I will find that in another book.
I really like how she tackles neurosexism and the gender binary by using hard science and a realistic, critical eye on information that is seen as golden and valid. (less)
Rebecca Skloot has written an amazing, sad, and eye opening non-fiction book that often reads like fiction. Did these things really happen? Yes. Was i...moreRebecca Skloot has written an amazing, sad, and eye opening non-fiction book that often reads like fiction. Did these things really happen? Yes. Was it fair? No. Never. I felt horrible for Henrietta and her family as I read the book. Yes, her cells have helped science immensely. It doesn't change the fact that they were kept in the dark for years. It's like no one in the medical field cared for these people. It's not surprising that they didn't care since the Lacks were poor and not white. The evident signs of racism and classism in this book are almost too much sometimes. I was really moved by Elsie's treatment. Okay, not moved. More like pissed off.
Great books elicit a strong response. I find this to be especially true with The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks. Rebecca Skloot isn't just an amazing scientist for her compassion and empathy; she is also a brilliant writer and storyteller. Like I said, the book often read like fiction. Her research is meticulous but also sensitive to the concerns of the Lacks family, especially Deborah. I can't imagine the pain Deborah experienced. Instead of giving up and calling it quits, Rebecca was resilient and stayed by Deborah, helping her learn about both her mother and sister. I was inspired and amazed by Deborah's strength and courage to learn the truth about the past. In a field that seems extremely driven to just profit and academic success, Rebecca has the heart to care and asks about Henrietta as a person and not just as a vial of cells.
I have always loved science so the mentions of cell culture and cell reproduction are very appealing to me. What I like, though, is that Rebecca gives the HeLa cells a human face. It reminds the medical field that Henrietta was a person with a family, with a life of her own. By telling her history, Henrietta gets the recognition that she deserves. To be honest, before I heard about this book, I never heard about Henrietta Lacks. I didn't know about the HeLa cells, either. Why is her story withheld if she had and still has such an impact on not just the medical field but on people's personal lives?
I'm so happy I read this book. Even though it was hard to read at times, I have learned so much from it. I highly recommend it to everyone. It's an extremely moving book that held my full attention. (less)