Empty Shelf Book 14: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

What’s it about: This book is about the immortal life of the HeLa cell line, grown  from an African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in the fifties. Henrietta Lacks cells were the first human cells to be immortal. When Lacks was operated on at John Hopkins hospital, her cancerous cell tissue was taken without her consent.

Why did I read it: This book was part required reading material for my Women’s Studies class I’m taking this quarter. I don’t like the class so much, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about  Lack’s story and her incredible contribution to science.

Favorite idea: In the book, Skloot writes about two of Henrietta’s adult children seeing their mother’s cells for the first time. When discussing genetics and DNA, a researcher at Hopkins explained  “They [the HeLa cells] all look the same–they’re just clear until we put color on them with a dye. You can’t tell what color a person is from their cells.”

Where you can buy it: here.

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