Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Henrietta Lacks was a poor black American woman who died in 1951 of cervical cancer. Her singularly fertile cells—scraped from a tumor before her death and cultured without her knowledge—spawned a cell line that has been instrumental in several great advances of the modern age. Meanwhile, her family remained in poverty. Rebecca Skloot narrates the true story of Lacks’ legacy with sensitivity and conviction, performing science journalism and playing the role of historical witness.
Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about faith, science, journalism, and grace. It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women Skloot and Deborah Lacks sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah s mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta s death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children. Skloot s portraits of Deborah, her father and brothers are so vibrant and immediate they recall Adrian Nicole LeBlanc s Random Family. Writing in plain, clear prose, Skloot avoids melodrama and makes no judgments. Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society s most vulnerable people.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Amazing - but an imperfect download
I absolutely love this book! It's a beautiful story that is part mystery, part biography, and is completely enthralling. My only issue - as I'm reading it entirely on my iPad - is that the pictures didn't download and many of them are missing. It's the first iBook I've downloaded with this problem.
It was great
I had heard all the buzz and saw the review on an email. I downloaded and could not put it down. I read it in an entire weekend. It posed so many questions and it really opened my eyes. You don't have to be a scientist to enjoy it. It's a phenomenal read. You don't find many books that put the humanity and the science together to see what we do to understand who we are. And who are often the casualties in all this. Well done, Rebecca!
The immortal life of Henrietta lacks
loved it! An amazing mix of science and a poignant story. Had my interest the entire ride!