Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When I first began reading this book I enjoyed the pace and how she connected the background of scientific developments involved with HeLa and the story of Henrietta's life. As I read further I felt a little bogged down by the ever decreasing pace. It seemed like I was reading this book forever. However, that is to be expected when reading nonfiction at times. Sometimes the pace drags on.

So I am taking a step back and viewing the book as a whole. Ms. Skloot did a great job covering the scientific aspects. While at times it feels more like a high school student's biology paper, basic facts with no "true" connection to the story at all, I think it was probably difficult to find information regarding HeLa.

I greatly appreciate the fact that she did not change Henrietta's family's dialogue. The truth and modern consequences of a shady past when racism was prevalent is not seen often in books. And when it is, the result is sometimes a lot less REAL. In this book we see how the loss of a mother because doctors did not take time to see that their treatments were making Henrietta's disease worse, greatly changed the childhood and nurturing of her children.

I liked this book and I think it would be a good book to present to young teens who wish to pursue a scientific career. You may ask isn't this book a little difficult for teens. I do not feel it is too difficult. This book is easier to read than many of the nonfiction books I have read on science. And the human side helps the reader to stay connected that this is a story about a human. Not a story about test subjects, a story about how important one individual's life can be to science and research.



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