Book Review | Go Big Read – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

book cover The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, containing many layers, could appeal to a wide array of readers, each for different reasons. The story focuses on the history of African-American Henrietta Lacks and her cells, while also detailing related progress in the field of science and medicine, the struggle of her family, and quest for knowledge which resulted in this book. Author Rebecca Skloot coherently connects the pieces of several stories to come up with this successful non-fiction piece which explores ethical issues in science and poverty.

The book jumps right in, reminding me of an action movie in which new ideas are constantly being brought to the table. Skloot keeps the reader’s attention, and is effectively able to interweave the strands of a story that she methodically gathered over several years. Comparisons she draws between the Lacks family’s case and other pertinent health issues that have been brought to light over the years help the reader to become more informed about the medical field in general, giving this book much more of an appeal to the non-medical or non-scientist than previous books in the area may have had.

While I cannot say that I enjoyed this book, it was definitely more interesting than most of the non-fiction I encounter, and most people who I spoke with did recommend the book. Not only will it prompt your brain into action on several important issues, it will lead to thoughtful discussions with those who have read it.

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About amy de simone
Amy is an active volunteer, traveler and photographer. She is interested in art, libraries, museums and nonprofits. She holds an M.A. in Library & Information Studies and a B.A. in Italian Language & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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