Molly's Reviews > The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
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's review
Jul 02, 12

Read from June 18 to July 01, 2012

There is a lot going on in this book, and Skloot set herself the tricky task of writing an informative, popular science book, as well as a historical work, which owes a huge debt of gratitude to the living relatives of Henrietta Lack's—their participation made this book possible. But the book suffers from her indebtedness to the Lacks family. And too much time is spent on the family members, carefully recording their struggle to come to terms with their mother's legacy, while they have the disadvantage of very little money, extremely little formal education, and burdensome health problems. Skloot certainly stirs the reader's sympathies, but her writing is uninspired and I don't think she succeeds in making a work that has that delicate mixture of substance and humanity. The science gets too little, the family—in plodding prose—gets too much.

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