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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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Archive BBR > The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Kisha and Maya bbr)

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message 1: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
This is where Maya and I will be reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. If anyone would like to join in with us feel free!


Maya B | 799 comments I just started reading and I can already tell this is going to have me upset


message 3: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Yeah absolutely. The way they treated her like she was a rat in a science project and no regards to her family. Just sad


Maya B | 799 comments I was up half the night reading. As I am reading this book my mood keeps going from angry to sad then back to angry. That woman suffered. smh


Felicia Moore | 228 comments I've read it and it is definitely an eye opening book....


Felicia Moore | 228 comments If you enjoy this book another book I recommend is Spectacle the life of Ota Benga.


Felicia Moore | 228 comments correction: the astonishing life of Ota Benga


message 8: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Thanks Felicia for making my tbr even longer than it already is lol! That book sounds interesting.

Maya how far are you now? What do you think about the science aspect of this book? Do you like how she merged science and medicine with her life story?


Maya B | 799 comments Felicia wrote: "correction: the astonishing life of Ota Benga"

adding to my list. thank you


message 10: by Maya (last edited Jul 19, 2016 05:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments kisha wrote: "Thanks Felicia for making my tbr even longer than it already is lol! That book sounds interesting.

Maya how far are you now? What do you think about the science aspect of this book? Do you like h..."


I finished the first section. page 102. At first I didn't like how the author put her own story in the book, but it started to make sense after a while. she clearly did a lot of leg work to get Henrietta's story


message 11: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
I am undecided how I feel about her putting her story in there. It's a bit narcissistic but then sometimes it seems her purpose was to let us know how little information there was on the person who changed medicine forever so it sometimes makes since.


message 12: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison I loved "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" only because it opened my eyes and taught me something about yet another unsung African American heroine who changed American & medical history without receiving credit for her contributions. But I'm like Kisha, my emotions were all over the place when reading!


message 13: by Maya (last edited Jul 19, 2016 06:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I wonder what the author was feeling when she wrote this book. was she feeling sympathy or empathy for the family. Its almost as if the author wants to say "I feel sorry for what we did to you". Its like someone walking up to you and apologizing to you about slavery. Neither us were there so how do you process that. Now that I think about, the author is putting too much of her own personal emotion in to the story.


message 14: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison This is always a factor/risk when others tell our stories.


message 15: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments It's been a long time since I have read a book that had me this charged up. lol


message 16: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
"Soon, George told a few of his closest colleagues that he thought his lab might have
grown the first immortal human cells.
To which they replied, Can I have some? And George said yes."


This just pissed me off! As if he was asking for a bag of chips!


message 17: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments kisha wrote: ""Soon, George told a few of his closest colleagues that he thought his lab might have
grown the first immortal human cells.
To which they replied, Can I have some? And George said yes."

This just ..."


yes, just awful. This is definitely a book where you have to keep your composure while reading and to think this is only the beginning of the book.


message 18: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Here's a sidenote question. I couldn't help but notice that Henrietta's cousins were both courting her and she married Day which was her first cousin and it was talked about as a normalcy. Was this normal for the 50s?


message 19: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Hmmm....Kisha...that gave me pause. We've heard of "kissing cousins" so (and as we see in Henrietta's story) apparently, yes. Even back in medieval times/European history royalty often intermarried in order to keep bloodlines pure. So, perhaps more "common" than we think.


message 20: by Maya (last edited Jul 19, 2016 07:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I think it was. I thought of the color purple when I read that part. So many things were allowed back then, but are not accepted now


message 21: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison But when I think of my cousins...I'm glad I married outside the family :)


message 22: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments How about the way the xray machine turned her skin black. was she the first person to receive radiation treatments? you would think she was the first person to receive cancer treatments of any kind


message 23: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison That was astounding. It make me ache for Henrietta, all the physical trauma the treatment caused.


message 24: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2537 comments Mod
This was one of the stories that will truly stick with you. It was a very emotional read for me.


message 25: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I'm glad Oprah is making this a movie. the last movie I watched like that was called Miss evers' boys about the tuskegee experiments


message 26: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2537 comments Mod
I haven't seen that Maya, I'll try to watch it this weekend.


message 28: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2537 comments Mod
Thanks Maya!


message 29: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Maya, I think I have that DVD (Miss Evers) packed away in the garage. Definitely need to unpack it. And I did not know Oprah was making Henrietta's story into a film. Wonderful!


message 30: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments Suzette, Its been a while since I watched Miss Evers too. I just bought a copy on amazon. That movie always stayed with me. This book has begun to bring out the same feelings I had after watching the movie. Let me see if I can find a link about the one Oprah is producing


message 32: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited Jul 20, 2016 11:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Suzette

I have been doing a bit of (google) research since I started reading this and I just found out that it was very common because there was no law against it. And yes other countries would "keep it in the family" for bloodline and royalty reasons. Even in Bible times it's mentioned a few times. And would you guys know that til this day there are still several states that are trying to get the cousin marriage law reversed? Gross!!! lol

Maya

As for the question about radium treatment it was fought against for years because obviously the side effects were more harmful than the treatment and not to mention many doctors and scientist were saying it was actually causing cancer instead of helping it. There's a whole thing about it.


message 33: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments This has been a great discussion ladies.


Kisha, I am going to do some google research on this when I get home tonight. Most importantly, I want to find more books like this


message 34: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Yes, Maya great idea because it is helping me understand so much about this book and especially the terminology and they way medicine worked in the 50s (I'm in the healthcare field so it's very interesting to me).

I will say that sometimes the author comes of a tad condescending.


message 35: by Maya (last edited Jul 20, 2016 11:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I'm in the healthcare field as well which is why this book has piqued my interest so much. What I am reading about john hopkins has me in shock. Now I'm wondering why the hospital never changed its name. they seem to have a bad reputation with the poor communities and I don't blame the community for feeling the way that they do


Condescending yes! I wonder if the author is trying to be a savior for the family


message 36: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Maya, Kisha,

this thought crossed my mind and I'm curious. Do you think an author has an obligation to monetarily compensate a subject when profiting from writing about their lives? For example, this author sharing a portion of her earnings with the Lacks family?


message 37: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited Jul 20, 2016 12:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Did she do that? I don't personally feel like there's an obligation there because first of all unless you are Stephen King or Toni Morrison and such there is no real guarantee how much you will profit from your book or if you ever will. I think it's shows great integrity but not an obligation. I would be flattered that someone cared enough to properly and accurately tell my story.

However I feel the opposite way about them taking her cells. They used her cells without her permission and profited in abundance from it. It is quite sad that the family can't even afford healthcare not to mention years went by with an unmarked grave for Henrietta. They showed no respect. Granted this was the 50s and she was black but even years later the family never got what they deserved (well known fact so I hope that wasn't a spoiler). It wasn't your typical donate a kidney when a person dies. No, medicine was changed drastically forever and no compensation for that.

But to get back on subject I think it was nice that she did that for them. I imagine it's pretty darn hard hearing their struggle and knowing that you are yet another person profiting from their family name. That was definitely the moralistic thing to do. But not obligatory.


message 38: by Maya (last edited Jul 20, 2016 01:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I don't think an author should have to compensate a family if they are willing to tell their story. However, I do feel like john hopkins owes the family a lot of money.


message 39: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Thanks. Appreciate your feedback. And sorry for wording my question in such a way that it was misleading. No, to my knowledge, the author did NOT compensate the family...


message 40: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Oh I see thanks for clarifying.


message 41: by Brina (new)

Brina My mother read the book and said the hospital didn't compensate the family much which was unacceptable. This is not a book I can join you on as I get squeamish with anything medical. But it sounds fascinating


message 42: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments I'm finished. I'm trying to decide on a long review or short one. My feelings are all over the place right now


message 43: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Maya, totally understand. Deep breath. Might want to let it marinate before reviewing.


message 44: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments Suzette, a good night sleep helped me a lot


message 45: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
Omg I gotta catch up! I'm about to start reading now!


message 46: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments kisha wrote: "Omg I gotta catch up! I'm about to start reading now!"

LOL. no rush at all Kisha. I just so happened to have had the time to finish it.


message 47: by Suzette (new) - added it

Suzette Harrison Good for you, Maya. Rest usually helps perspective. Now write that review :)


message 48: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 4 stars

kisha | 3909 comments Mod
I finally finished this book. My emotions are all over the place now! I don't even know where to start. What a cruel, selfish and greedy world we live in.


message 49: by Brina (new)

Brina I think my mom has a copy. I'm going to bring it home. I have enough other books to read this week that I can only find at her library. If not I'll get when I get home.


message 50: by Maya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maya B | 799 comments Brina wrote: "I think my mom has a copy. I'm going to bring it home. I have enough other books to read this week that I can only find at her library. If not I'll get when I get home."

cool! join in at any time


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