Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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?


5 thoughts on “Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

  1. I loved this book, it was so fascinating!! I’ve been trying to recommend it to everyone but people seem to think it’s too hard to read because of science facts, but it isn’t at all. So happy to meet someone else who’s read it and liked it! 😀 I really devoured all the facts about the HeLa cells – so much I didn’t know!! In addition to the heartfelt family story.

    Liked by 1 person

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