Wow. What a book. This one had me from page one. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cancer cells that were taken from her body, and how they took over the world.
This book is about much more than just some cells that won’t die. It’s about how the Lack family (a poor, uneducated black family from a tobacco farm) felt when they found out Henrietta’s cells were still alive and making some people very rich.
Ah! But the book is also about who has rights to cells once they’ve been taken from a body, whether that body is dead or alive. It’s a very interesting question that I would never have thought about otherwise. I had a mole removed a few years ago, do I have any rights to that sample once it leaves my body?
The author does an astounding job of showing as many sides of the story as she can. The doctors, the Lacks family and friends, the scientists, the people cured from various diseases thanks to HeLa cells, the journalists and the hospital where Henrietta Lacks went for cancer treatment and died.
Read it. You won’t regret it.
And that’s in my uneducated opinion.