The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks

I had read of HeLa cells in a couple of books but I had never considered the story behind those cells and how scientists got a hold of them. The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is the story of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells were taken without her permission, and the story of the family’s devastation, on finding out about these cells.

TILOHL is a gripping, fascinating book that reads like a thriller. The book raises important questions about the ethics governing the use of tissues from human beings but it’s core is the story of a Henrietta Lacks’ family. Reading about the Lacks family and the kind of suffering that Henrietta’s children endured is gut wrenching. If you also consider that companies made money from the HeLa cell line while the family itself struggled, it makes absolutely no sense.

I found the book hard to put down and once I was half way through the book, I stayed up fairly late on a weekday (around 2 AM I think) because I just *had* to finish the book. TILOHL deserves the awards that it’s received and Rebecca Skloot, who must have worked really hard to unearth all the information in the book and then put the information together to make it such a terrific read, deserves all the plaudits.

TILOHL is a superb book and, in my view, a must-read.

PS: This is not a new book, but what the heck. To paraphrase NBC, If you haven’t read it, it’s new to you.


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