Throwback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk. This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago. Today I’m going to be sharing an incredibly profound book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
Why I chose this book:
This book was unlike any other I’d read. I don’t read or post a lot of non-fiction books, but when I was perusing an independent book store while on vacation a while back, and it was on display and highly recommended to me by one of the workers, I decided to download the audiobook and listen to it. I’d heard of it, but wasn’t sure what it was about. O….M….Goodness. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that Henrietta Lacks could have possibly affected my own life, and/or the lives of my loved ones. My emotions were all over the place while getting through this book, but mostly I kept thinking this …
Henrietta and her family were wronged in so many unimaginable ways.
Rebecca Skloot spent approximately a decade researching and writing this book before it was published. It involves a young, underprivileged black woman who died of cervical cancer, but her cancer cells kept multiplying after her death in 1951, and they continue to live on in laboratories today. They’ve been used to develop treatments and vaccines that many of us have probably benefited from. Apparently the cells are so prolific that at last count they could wrap around the Earth several times. But there’s much, much more to this story. Although so many people, including medical professionals, profited from Henrietta’s cells, her family languished in abject poverty, some without medical insurance. AND, consent from Henrietta or her family was never given to use Henrietta’s cells for research or otherwise. See my more in-depth review here.
You might recall that the movie was released on HBO earlier this year. Oprah Winfrey starred in it as Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah Lacks. It was a good effort, but the book is exceedingly more detailed. I recommend this book to the entire world.
Have you heard of, or read, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks? What did you think? I’d love to know your thoughts.