The biography novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks* by Rebecca Skloot tells you about the woman behind the famous, immortal HeLa cells: African American, Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was born poor in Clover, in a four-room house on a tobacco farm. In 1951, Henrietta went to John Hopkins hospital (segregated hospital) to have the doctors investigate a “knot” on her womb. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and revisited the hospital for radiation treatments.
During the surgery, without her knowledge and consent, a small part of her tumor with the cancer cells was removed and given to a man called George Gey, who experimented with cancer cells. With his procedure, George Gey discovered that Henrietta’s cells were immortal. Eagerly, he spread the news and a lucrative medical revolution was born with one woman’s cells. However, her family never received one cent of the profit.
I enjoyed this book because of the unique characters and the fascinating story of the woman who created HeLa cells. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to read about the science of cancer in a time of segregation.
*There are a few parts in this book that may be considered inappropriate for kids. Check with your parents before reading.
Rating: Read It!
Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?