Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Club Friday: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


I'm linking up with Heather of Blonde Undercover Blonde for the first time eva today to share a book I recently read and loved.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.
(From Rebecca Skloot's Website)

I'm not sure if being in the medical field cinched my interest in this book, but as soon as I picked it up in the bookstore I knew I'd be into it.  It sucks you in, and really makes you think about the medical research industry and all it has evolved from and into.  It is not all science and med talk though - it tells the sad story of Henrietta Lacks losing her horrific battle with cervical cancer, and the unraveling of her family that followed.

Now that I am the proud owner of a Kindle (Thanks, MIL Red!), I may or may not be doing more and more Book Club Fridays - what do y'all think?

Help me stock my Kindle full of goodies to read,
what's the last good book you read?
(And then go link it up to Heather's Book Club Friday!)

If you're coming over from Blonde Undercover Blonde, make sure to check our my awesome Beauty Bundle GIVEAWAY, complete with makeup perfect for blondes OR brunettes!  (Or redheads, of course.)


Micah said...

A few of my friends talked about this, so I bought it for my kindle awhile back. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet though. Hopefully soon!

Heather said...

Oh WOW! This book is super intriguing.

And I hope you DO join up with us again in the future!

Katie said...

Wow-- this sounds like a GREAT book. Thanks for posting!! I'm definitely going to pick this one up!

Emily said...

I'm still old school & don't have a Kindle or a Nook, but I may have to read this one anyways! It looks really good!

Wiz said...

This book is on my list to read. I have heard so many great things about it!

lil desiqua said...

Wow, I'm not in the medical field at all, but this sounds really interesting! May have to add this to my "to-read" list! Thanks for sharing!

Kathy S said...

That sounds really good. The best books I've read recently are The Bridge of Deaths by MCV Egan and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Dani said...

Things I have been reading lately: sisterhood everlasting by ann brashares [the same characters as the sisterhood of the traveling pants but all grown up and much deeper and darker, so great!). Also, half broke horses, which is written by the girl who wrote the glass castle, both of which are fabulous, suck you right in- memoirs with a lot of interesting history (and this is coming from a girl who hates nonfiction). I've read so many other good ones lately also! Next up on my list: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, looks hilarious!

Sarah E. said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book!

And yay for Kindle!! Which one did you get?

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