Ellin's Reviews > The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
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's review
Aug 03, 2011

really liked it
Read in August, 2011

Good science writing. This book raises lots of questions about medical research and profits, race, poverty, education and ethical issues involving tissue and cell ownership.

The beginning of the book was a lot more interesting to me than the end. Part one concentrates more on Henrietta's cancer and diagnosis whereas the end of the book involves the author and Henrietta's family. The author is persistent and fearless in her pursuit of information for the book. Unfortunately the way the family was described made them appear unsympathetic or as one reviewer said "insufferable."

I do wish the author had stressed right from the start that the HeLa cells "taken without her knowledge" were cancer cells. The Drs. did take healthy tissue too but those cells did not survive.

I really like the quote the author used by Elie Wiesel. "We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph."

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