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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

250 out of 258 people found this review helpful.

A balanced, fascinating, beautifully written story about the first and still most important human "cell line" used in research

When I started reading this story, I did not know what to expect. I am a biologist and, though I do not work extensively on human studies (I study mostly bacteria) I have heard and read 100s of scientific studies that were based on work on "HeLa" cells. These cells are...
When I started reading this story, I did not know what to expect. I am a biologist and, though I do not work extensively on human studies (I study mostly bacteria) I have heard and read 100s of scientific studies that were based on work on "HeLa" cells. These cells are literally everywhere in research facilities. But other than on rare occasions, there is rarely much discussion of the person behind these cells (or in fact, behind any cells used in research). I started the book with a bit of trepidation because it would have been easy for the author, Rebecca Skloot to sensationalize the history of the person behind these cells.

But I was wonderfully surprised once I started reading the book (and in fact, could not put it down). First, the book is incredibly well written and crafted - weaving together three (or more) threads: the life of Henrietta Lacks, the obsession of the author with the story of HeLa, and the science behind human cell line research.

Second, and perhaps more important to me, the book is incredibly well balanced in telling the story. For example, it would have been easy for Skloot to vilify the scientists at Johns Hopkins who isolated the cell line and then continued to work on it as well as related topics. (I note, I know some of these people as I used to have an Adjunct Appointment at Johns Hopkins). But in fact, Skloot is meticulously careful about researching the facts behind the story and in trying to explain what happened in the context of the times (e.g., she does a good job of describing how concepts of "informed consent" have changed over time). Instead of simply portraying scientists as evil or blaming them for "stealing" HeLa cells, Skloot portrays scientists as they really are - frequently well intentioned but a bit naive at times about the repercussions of what they are doing. (I note, Skloot does not try to sugarcoat scientists or any others in the book either - when scientists clearly erred this is described. But what I really like about the portrayal is that the portrayals of the Lacks family, of scientists, and of others, is done without any excessive judging. She lets the readers come to their own decisions about whether what people did was good or bad or in between. In this way, the book is nuanced and is really a history of science book.

Finally, I think it is worth pointing out that this book is incredibly timely. As technology has advanced it is now becoming possible to determine the entire genetic makeup of individual people - and soon this will be possible at such a low cost that many people will have this done. In addition, medical research is accelerating at a dizzying pace - with many large scale studies being done involving samples from 100s-1000s of people. These studies have the potential to revolutionize medicine. But it is going to be very important for the scientists involved and for society in general to continue to think about the issues associated with "sharing" information and samples. The HeLa book is an important addition to this discussion and is written in such a way that just about anyone can read and understand it.

posted by JonathanEisen on February 13, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

81 out of 84 people found this review helpful.

Download The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks For Free

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posted by 9114493 on August 5, 2011

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A balanced, fascinating, beautifully written story about the first and still most important human "cell line" used in research

    When I started reading this story, I did not know what to expect. I am a biologist and, though I do not work extensively on human studies (I study mostly bacteria) I have heard and read 100s of scientific studies that were based on work on "HeLa" cells. These cells are literally everywhere in research facilities. But other than on rare occasions, there is rarely much discussion of the person behind these cells (or in fact, behind any cells used in research). I started the book with a bit of trepidation because it would have been easy for the author, Rebecca Skloot to sensationalize the history of the person behind these cells.

    But I was wonderfully surprised once I started reading the book (and in fact, could not put it down). First, the book is incredibly well written and crafted - weaving together three (or more) threads: the life of Henrietta Lacks, the obsession of the author with the story of HeLa, and the science behind human cell line research.

    Second, and perhaps more important to me, the book is incredibly well balanced in telling the story. For example, it would have been easy for Skloot to vilify the scientists at Johns Hopkins who isolated the cell line and then continued to work on it as well as related topics. (I note, I know some of these people as I used to have an Adjunct Appointment at Johns Hopkins). But in fact, Skloot is meticulously careful about researching the facts behind the story and in trying to explain what happened in the context of the times (e.g., she does a good job of describing how concepts of "informed consent" have changed over time). Instead of simply portraying scientists as evil or blaming them for "stealing" HeLa cells, Skloot portrays scientists as they really are - frequently well intentioned but a bit naive at times about the repercussions of what they are doing. (I note, Skloot does not try to sugarcoat scientists or any others in the book either - when scientists clearly erred this is described. But what I really like about the portrayal is that the portrayals of the Lacks family, of scientists, and of others, is done without any excessive judging. She lets the readers come to their own decisions about whether what people did was good or bad or in between. In this way, the book is nuanced and is really a history of science book.

    Finally, I think it is worth pointing out that this book is incredibly timely. As technology has advanced it is now becoming possible to determine the entire genetic makeup of individual people - and soon this will be possible at such a low cost that many people will have this done. In addition, medical research is accelerating at a dizzying pace - with many large scale studies being done involving samples from 100s-1000s of people. These studies have the potential to revolutionize medicine. But it is going to be very important for the scientists involved and for society in general to continue to think about the issues associated with "sharing" information and samples. The HeLa book is an important addition to this discussion and is written in such a way that just about anyone can read and understand it.

    250 out of 258 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    An historic work of science and the human heart, Skloot brings to life the story that needed to be told, even if you *think* you may know the HeLa story. A moving and gripping read for students, scientists, and anyone concerned with social justice

    I read this book as a scientist whose PhD thesis work 20 years ago almost entirely made use of HeLa cells. HeLa cells were central to my first paper from my independent laboratory and fueled my first major research grant from the American Cancer Society. I say this because I thought I was a HeLa expert. Rebecca Skloot has taught me that I knew only a small fraction of the story that brought to me a gift that launched my scientific career.

    This book is remarkable in that it is a painstakingly-documented and fact-checked account of science, ethics, and history, yet reads smoothly and engagingly as well to my colleagues with no background in science. Most importantly, Skloot brings to us the uncomfortable history of medical injustices to the African-American community that extends back to slave ships and today fuels the relative reticence of blacks to participate in clinical trials. The story is so touching and moved my heart to experience the torment shared by the Lacks family to the triumph and education of the Lacks family about the very real contributions of their matriarch's gift to science and humanity.

    A native of New Jersey who has spent a third of his life in the American South, I am still often called a Yankee here. Skloot's book shares with the rest of the country and the world the culture and experience of life in the Jim Crow South and the place religion holds for a people who were sustained by their faith from slavery through struggles that continue today. My white privilege is real.

    As for the cells themselves, yes, yes, Ms. Lacks did not give up her tumor tissue because she intended for the cells to be propagated and studied worldwide - her tissue was taken to the lab unknowingly and without consent as was done then with hundreds of patients at Johns Hopkins. But one has to read the Skloot book to also appreciate that researchers came back to the Lacks family 20 years later for tissue samples without compassion or an appreciation for the communication required to adequately inform the family about their motivations.

    Skloot teaches us that the cultivation of the first immortalized human cell line opened the door to understanding how this could be done for more intractable cells in culture. She stimulated me to go back and read some of the 1950s papers by pioneers like Ted Puck, Richard Ham, and Harry Eagle on the requirements for mammalian cell growth in vitro that form the basis of techniques used in cancer and viral research laboratories worldwide. Many of these papers using HeLa cells appeared in the most prominent journals of then and today: Science, Nature, and the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

    But step back for a moment as humans who stand on the shoulders of our forebearers: how can you look back on the breadth of discoveries enabled by the availability of HeLa cells and not feel some debt of gratitude toward this woman? How can one not feel compelled to honor her suffering and that of her family? For me, that is reason enough for this story to be told with the finesse and reverence Skloot so gently shares herein, aided by the respect that she earned from the Lacks family.

    For those posting based upon perceptions or news accounts, I strongly encourage you to read the entire text even if you think you know the whole story. I assure you: you do not. We are indebted to Rebecca for her tenacious work over the last ten years to fulfill a curiosity in a woman she discovered 20 years ago in high school.

    94 out of 98 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    CAPTIVATING! FASCINATING!

    This is an amazing, fascinating true story about a poor black woman, Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s who became ill with cervical cancer. Her cells were taken from her body during treatment and harvested for medical research. They took two samples of the cells from her uterus. These Hela cells mass produced and have become immortal.Years of disinterest or misinformation kept the truth from Henrietta's family and the world. This book is a document in history and the extent the Lacks' have gone through to get the truth told about their mother. This book was obviously well researched, not just in the history but the personal aspect was engaging and interesting. Henrietta Lacks is a miracle. She helped find numerous vaccines and enabled the research and discovery of some of medical treatment after she was long gone.

    Rebecca Skloot takes readers through the life of Henrietta Lacks, well beyond her years on this earth. We learn of her children, their children, and so on and also the history of scientific progress. Skloot weaves the human interest story of the Lackses with the historical progress of research, DNA, chromosomes and cells. This story is fascinating, inspiring and heartbreaking. I highly recommend! A treasure!

    59 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    This book should be required reading for medical and graduate students

    I received a copy of Rebecca Skloot's new book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks before Christmas. I read it while my family and I traveled to Phoenix and have thought about it almost every day since. his is, without a doubt, the single best piece of non-fiction I have ever read. It is one of the most important stories of the last 100 years and should be required reading for every scientist and physician-in-training.

    In short, I loved it and consider myself among Rebecca Skloot's biggest fans.

    When I first wrote about this book on my blog, I received comments from people who were upset that Rebecca Skloot might be suggesting that we stop using HeLa cells. They were concerned that Rebecca Skloot's book is simply another story of African American injustice. Neither of these as individual themes do the book justice. The most important message of the book is the reminder that, as scientists, we have the responsibility to be aware of the potential for people to become invisible in research. We all have the potential to be blinded by our own self-interests and the social, educational, and economic constructs that shape us. However, I would argue that, even more than in medicine, we have the responsibility to be entirely transparent with our research participants. We have a responsibility to ensure that participants understand the consequences of what we do, especially because they derive no immediate benefit. We don't necessarily cure them or heal them. This isn't easy and many of us fail at some point in our careers, no matter how well-intentioned we are.

    Most of us view cells as purely structural components, non-sentient and without feeling. However, imagine having an elementary education with no concept of what a cell is, and learning that a piece of your loved one had been taken, was alive, and was being experimented on. Imagine receiving a call from people with apparent social authority and hearing that they wanted to test your children after your wife died of a devastating illness. It's easy to see how the Lacks family would think they were being tested for cancer, and how it would terrify them when they didn't receive the results they thought researchers would return to them with. It doesn't matter what you know the cell to be. What matters is how they perceived them and that perception caused them pain.

    The lesson that Henrietta Lacks teaches us is as pertinent today as it was in 1951 when her cells were taken. Our actions, especially when we are blinded to cultural, economic, spiritual, and social differences between us and the people we use in research, have the potential to have devastating and lasting consequences. In that sense, we have a duty to understand our history as researchers in an effort to prevent the future abuse of research participants and their families.

    It's impossible to read about Henrietta Lacks without considering how racism and economics shaped the story. However, it's dangerous to assume that because social climates evolve, this could never happen again

    42 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting Story Poorly Reported

    I was really looking forward to this book. I have served on IRB for many years and am profoundly interested in protecting patient rights and confidentiality. But this is not the book I felt it should be. I realize that Rebecca Skloot is telling the story she wants to tell, but it is in many ways barely coherent.

    In the beginning of the book she uses both first person and second person in the same sentence when a simpler way would serve her better. She is quoting individuals in conversations that were 20 years earlier and which she was not privy to. I believe many of her quotes began to appear as 'piling on' the protaganists poor education when this had already been characterized more than adequately.

    Overall I found the writing very poor and lacking in clarity. I just wanted to warn any readers who value good language construction and clarity that they might become aggravated by this book.

    Also, I don't believe the author's choice of style in telling this story serves any of the interests involved.

    34 out of 124 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2010

    Biology has a human side

    I am always looking for books that would be something to recommend to my students in my college classes that pull in the human side of how biology functions in their lives. This is one of those perfect examples of how science functions in human society.

    The idea that a human can be reduced to the title of a cell line, as in HeLa, is a disturbing side of the life sciences. I want my students to understand that biology has so many benefits for us, but that the power of science should be both simultaneously embraced and examined with suspicion. We need to see the human side of what we do in science, and this book by Rebecca Skloot has that power. She has shown us that we need the ability to learn about how we as humans function and eventually become dysfunctional as our systems fail through a myriad of events that are part of normal biological functioning. And that science attempts to find ways to stop the failings of our body. But sometimes the method does not always reflect positively on how we conduct science in our society.

    It is not possible to erase all the injustice in the system, but we need to remember the human face associated with the science of medicine. We want to do well by all involved, and this book opens a great dialogue on what lies ahead.

    23 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    EXCELLENT!!

    This is the most fascinating true story! The author, Rebecca Skloot, was 27 when she first started covering the HeLa story, and guided us through the unbelievable events that followed over 50 years as she built a relationship with Henrietta's descendants. She restores a measure of dignity to the Lacks family who spent decades knowing little of the amazing contributions made by the cells that were taken, without consent, from Mrs. Lacks before her death from cervical cancer in 1951. This changed the course of history. This is a story worth keeping on your library shelf forever.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    Good, but hardly can't-put-down reading.

    After reading the book review in the NY Times, I *knew* this would be the first eBook I would ever download. I'm no scientist, but I am a scholar and enjoy well-researched historical/scientific books such as these. I was captivated during the first few chapters, but eventually and sadly lost interest.

    The book itself tells parallel stories - one of the woman behind the cells, one of the cells itself, and one of the family left behind. While you can sense the frustration in the Lacks family, you can't help but feel like *no one* has the right to claim 100% ownership of the cells. Key to this statement I'm making is the fact that HeLa cells weren't Henrietta's *intrinsic* healthy cells, but rather her CANCER cells. Who in their right mind would want to look at the cells that viciously killed your mother, hug them and hold them dear? I certainly wouldn't. The only reason I would hold such a malignant entity dear is if I saw dollar signs dancing behind them, as it seems disturbingly clear that the Lacks family did.

    Sure, HeLa (malignant or not) contributed so much to the world. That cannot be contested. But ONLY because the scientists contributed infinite capital to make them survive. The Lackses can claim ownership all they want, but without the scientists, all their mothers cells would have been long gone. No vaccines, no research projects, no nothing. It's incredulous that they still consider them "stolen".

    In the end, a well-research, well-thought out book and fitting bibliography to a woman oft forgotten, but nothing I'd ever read again.

    19 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    Very readable

    I am thoroughly enjoying this book about someone I have never heard of but whom the world has greatly benefited from. This book is not a cut and dry documentary of cell research, but has inspired me to research into the subject a little further. I had heard about the horror stories of human research done without the subjects consent such as the Tuskegee Experiment and know of the African-American distrust of medicine because of it. This is the story of a woman's cells that helped create so-called modern miracles but her children to this day do not understand what was done with those cells or why. Some doctors are very good and talking down to the less educated and have an "I know what is best" attitude toward their patients in general, and while some may find it hard to believe that a physician would leave the patient and family in the dark, I know it is not that far-fetched, "just sign this paperwork" is something I have experienced myself. So while this book may not be an
    "unbiased" presentation of the facts, it is very enjoyable and could spark interest in science amongst young and old.

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful book, but AVOID THE E-BOOK

    This is written like "can't put it down fiction". So much great history of cell culture, medicine and research, civil rights and patients rights, African American culture. Henrietta Lacks and her family are in my heart.
    FYI - some of the chapters in the e-book end in mid-sentence. I hate to miss a single word of this. Better get a paper copy and be able to read the whole amazing book.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    The best non-fiction book I've read in years; it deserves the same immortal status as the cells it describes

    This is without question the best non-fiction book I've read in years. Skloot's debut is thrilling, original and refuses to be shoehorned into anything as trivial as a genre. Equal parts popular science, historical biography and detective novel, it reads as evocatively as any work of fiction.

    Skloot repeatedly appears as a character in her own book, narrating her journey from first hearing about HeLa cells in a classroom to her attempts to contact and support the Lacks family. Her narration reveals the trials that the Lacks family have undergone since Henrietta's cells went global, and the sheer amount of trust it took to uncover the details of this story.

    But this is really a book about three heroines - the two whose names grace the cover and Henrietta's daughter, Deborah Lacks. Skloot's personal mission to tell this story and Deborah's quest to know about her mother's life and legacy are central parts of Henrietta's story and they form some of the book's most compelling segments.

    I write this review as someone who isn't typically a fan of historical non-fiction. Particularly in popular science, I often find descriptions of researchers to be distracting attempts at shoehorning in a human element that is out of keeping with the rest of the book. Not so here - this work has the most human of stories at its core, and never deviates from that important, and often heartbreaking, humanity. When science appears, it does so effortlessly, with explanations of cell anatomy or techniques like "fluorescence in situ hybridization" seamlessly worked into descriptions of the coloured wards of Johns Hopkins hospital to Lacks's hometown of Clover, Virginia.

    Skloot's prose is witty, lyrical, economical and authoritative. But The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is not a comfortable read. Learning about Henrietta's devastating radiation treatments, the history of experiments on black Americans and the events in the book's conclusion are heart-rending. But the story is uplifting too, particularly in a stand-out chapter where Henrietta's children, Deborah and Zakariyya, visit a cancer researcher to see their mother's cells under a microscope.

    All of this is to be expected of a book that refuses to shy away from tackling important themes - the interplay between science and ethics, the question of who owns our bodies, and the history of racism in the US. Actually considering these issues seems to be too much for some people, like the anonymous reviewer who appears to be attacking a straw-man version of the book. Those who actually make the effort to read the book and heart the story will be rewarded for it.

    For all its grand scope, skilful writing and touching compassion, there is one simple element that makes The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks an instant classic - this is one of those stories that genuinely needed to be told. By right, it will achieve the same immortal status as the cells it describes.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2010

    Disappointed by this Biased Telling

    This book, although well written and researched, was too biased for my liking. The emphasis on money, due to the family of Henrietta Lacks, was too central. The amount of time the author spent researching with the Lacks family has driven her text and allowed science to become the villain. The use of Henrietta Lacks' cells, in current research endeavors, should be seen as an opportunity for future patients to avoid the suffering she endured.

    13 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing story

    Harry S. Truman was President in 1951 when Henrietta Lacks died, but her cells and her legacy live on today. Known for years only as HeLa, the first "immortal" human cells grown in culture that continue to grow today. They have been and still are a vital medical research tool. For most of the past 60 years, scientists never even knew the real name of the woman whose cells sparked a spate of research in both the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

    A poor, unassuming and uneducated woman, Mrs. Lacks was treated in the Colored Only Section of Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Her husband and family never even understood just what lived on after her death; believing that a part of Henrietta had actually been kept alive. Her cells were used for wide ranging medical research over decades including polio research in the '50s, the effects of the Atom bomb, cloning, gene mapping and testing for the HPV (papilloma virus) vaccine, the first ever cancer vaccine that was approved in 2006, just to name a few.

    Add the civil rights struggle to this blend of science and personal information about Mrs. Lacks in Ms. Skloot's fascinating book. The very real human debate in the book centers on the untold millions made from HeLa research and the abject poverty her family faced. Her children were continually tested by researchers, even as they continued to live in poverty and ironically, without medical insurance. Mrs. Lack's legacy is heroic on so many levels, yet she rested for decades in an unmarked grave in her hometown.

    Ms. Skloot has written an amazing and thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I highly recommend THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS. Lynn Kimmerle

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Amazing

    Well written, intimate and unbiased. It will make you think hard about research, ethics and the mytery of life. Bravo "Miss Rebecca"! This should be required reading for any ethics class or health care program

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    must read for everyone

    The story, this book tells is amazing, it brought me both joy and sadness. It confirms the human spirit lives on long after we do. It is an easy read that will touch your heart. It will leave you grateful to Henrietta and proud to have had a small chance to see into her life. I found the book well written and easy to get to know the people involved, it allowed you to appreciate their lives and the hardships they had. I finished the book loving Henrietta Lacks, for her strength, hardships, sense of family, and mostly as an American hero. This book is a must read.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    What an amazing story!

    When I heard about this book on The New York Times, I knew I had to read it. I am a scientist that works at a cancer hospital and it seemed like a very intriguing book to me. After I was done, I realized it was one of the greatest science non-fiction books I had ever read.

    My whole job revolves around informed consent, which is mentioned quite frequently in the book. If Henrietta's cells were never taken without her knowledge, cancer research might not have been as advanced as it is today. I credit Henrietta for my job.

    I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn a good history lesson as well as several lessons on science, cancer, and cells. You will walk away touched by her family's story as well as in awe by the sheer magnitude of what the HeLa cells have meant to the science world. You'll understand the hardship and sacrifices that occurred in order for us to treat cancer today. It wasn't pleasant the way they treated people in the 50's and 60's but the product is undeniable.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK

    If it were possible to give a book more than five stars this one would deserve more. I'm not generally a fan of non-fiction as it can often be a bit on the dull side. This book, this book was nothing short of extraordinary. Parts were breathtaking in the way they forced you to see our own history, parts were so full of emotion all you could do was wipe your tears as your heart broke, all of it leaves you forever changed in the ways you will view medicine, privacy, and your own healthcare decisions. More than anything else though you will find yourself incredibly thankful to all those who were the unseen, unknown sacrifices that resulted in so many medical advances.

    As I sat beside my husband's hospital bed today holding the finished book to my heart I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around the Lacks family and say "Thank you."

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    I really enjoyed this book. I work in medical research, and as a previous poster said, this should be required reading for everyone that works in the biomedical sciences.

    My only complaint is that I tried to read this on my nook, and it's not properly formatted for the device. Every few pages a few lines get cut off, and you need to adjust between font sizes to get all the text. I finally read it on the e-reader on my laptop. If you want the book, get the hardcopy, or plan on reading it on a PC based e-reader.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not fluff..

    I usually read fluff--light mysteries or comedy stuff. Why in heck did I buy a book about human cells? I asked myself that when I first started reading this book. Then the book grabbed me. Yes, it's about the cells taken from a woman's malignant tumor, and it's about how they lived in labratories when all other cells before had died (it was 1951--these were the first cells to survive out of the body for any length of time). The cells multiplied, even after the woman was long dead. The book tells how the cells had been experimented on, the places they'd traveled (the moon for one), and the diseases they'd help cure. The book is also about the family of the woman and the author's struggle to find out what the heck happened: How the woman, Henrietta Lacks, had died; who she had been when she was alive, and how her family suffered because of her death and the mystery surrounding her death.

    The book isn't fluff, so it's a bit dryer than I'm used to, but I did read it to the end. I learned something about cells and about Ms Lacks' life and especially about her family. The author did a fantastic job of traveling around talking with the family, and traveling with Henrietta's daughter to try to learn Henrietta's medical history. I'd have said "to heck with it" if I'd been the one going though the ordeals of getting to know the family, but the author stuck with it, gaining an insight and affection for the struggling family of this woman.
    I'm glad I finished the book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Could not put it down!!

    This was an amazing book combining science and a person/family's personal story. I had never heard of these cells before even though I am a nurse. I really enjoyed the personal story of the writer and the family.
    I was surprised at how much this book interested me. Even though there was discussion of science it was not overwhelming or boring. This writer obviously researched this subject for many years before this book was published. I absolutely Loved it!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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