African American Literature,  Book Reviews,  Memoir/Biography,  Science

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot *** (of 4)

Cells from Henrietta Lacks’ cancerous cervix were the first to ever be cultured in a lab in perpetuity making the woman they came from in some ways immortal. ¬†The cells were taken just before her death and without her permission thereby becoming on the one hand a source of great scientific richness and on the other the bane of her surviving, very poor, largely uneducated African American family. ¬†Skloot does an excellent job of explaining the science and personalizing the plight of a family overwhelmed by America’s medical research establishment.