The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 1400052173 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wing6of8wing of Silver Spring, Maryland USA on 9/21/2015
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wing6of8wing from Silver Spring, Maryland USA on Monday, September 21, 2015
A book that I was excited to see in a free book stack near a local library. I knew it would be perfect for the Biography of Things bookbox. Inside the book was an envelope with newspaper clippings related to the story, which I decided to leave for the next reader to enjoy.

Journal Entry 2 by wing6of8wing at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Monday, September 21, 2015

Released 3 yrs ago (9/21/2015 UTC) at -- Bookbox, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


This book is now in the Biography of Things bookbox and on its way to quietorchid in Minnesota.

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Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, February 24, 2016
I've already read this excellent book, so I'm leaving it in the box for someone else, but did want to add my comments. (I enjoyed the enclosed clippings, btw.)

I'd heard about Lacks' cells long ago, probably via a Reader's Digest article, but it only dealt with the unusual properties of her cells. This book covers all that, and much more, focusing primarily on the lives of everyone involved - Lacks herself, her family, the doctors - including a close look at their situation at the time and where the surviving family members are now. In some respects it's a scientific triumph, and in others a horror story - the discovery that the HeLa cells were so insanely robust that they'd effectively contaminated a HUGE percentage of labs around the world was nothing short of terrifying, and while it hasn't (that we know of) produced any B-movie franken-bugs it did terrible damage to ongoing experiments that had to start over.

The suffering that Lacks went through was pretty horrifying too, and the troubles of her family members didn't stop with her death; the book made me feel as if I'd met them all, and the author's persistence and patience vs. the reluctance of the family to get involved with a public that hadn't done them any good at all was quite remarkable.

Science, history, and a very personal biography - fascinating story.

Journal Entry 4 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Sunday, April 17, 2016
Pick this up from the Biographies of Things bookbox. I've read this back in 2012, but as this is on a BC friend's wishlist, I'm reserving this for her.

This was solidly one of the best books I've read that year. I really appreciate how the author persevere instead of being turned off after coming against hostile reactions from the family initially. She could so easy have turned away and write another book, but I am very glad she didn't. The Lacks family, herself, and all of us who read the book is better because of it.

The book also prompts me to wonder, what would my reaction be if my cells are used like HeLa cells? Do I just shrug it off, or do part of me feel violated? I also start to wonder if I have something special in my cells that may make me an interesting subject, or potential money maker?

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