Book Reviews  マイブック評

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 2/17/12

February 18, 2012

I usually write about books in my Book Reviews, but this book is so strong that I decided to write in my blogs. This book has been Bestsellers for weeks, and I was very excited to start reading it. It is a documentary, a science history, a racism in America, a family history, humanity, poverty, and education. The advancement of a cell science goes with the Lack’s family history in this book. She was a poor black tobacco farmer. I am still stunned to learn that the high advanced cell science is from Henrietta Lacks who died in 1951 with cancer and her cells were collected during the test, and her family had no idea how her cells have been used in an important part of the science experimentation and advancement. For instance, polio vaccine was discovered thanks to her cells. Her cells have been called HeLa, and most of scientists have no idea where those cells are from. They take HeLa as their experimental tools, and actually cells have generated millions of dollars.

She had 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls. One girl, Elsie, had mental difficulty when she was very young, sent to the mental institute and died there. Another girl, Deborah, takes a big role in this book. She takes her mother’s cells spiritually. She can’t help thinking her mother has been abused in those experiments. She does not remember her as a person because Henrietta died so early. Some of her brothers have had criminal behavior, and have difficulty holding their angers. All of them don’t have much education. They can’t afford to have an insurance to go to doctor…

The author concludes into more spiritual ending. Deborah and her cousin say God chose Henrietta to be an angel to save us. As a Japanese I did not much of American history in racism and medicine I learned a lot and I am moved by the humanity.