It’s Aliiiiive!

My Kindle love affair continues. I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and was completely enthralled from page one. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Life-Henrietta-Lacks/dp/1400052181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299469473&sr=8-1

I don’t read a ton of nonfiction, but this had all the makings of a great novel, including some of the most vivid characters I’ve read lately. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins in 1951. Before she died, her doctor took a sample of her tumor, and the cells from that sample thrived in culture–something human cells hadn’t been able to do until that point. These cells opened a floodgate of discovery, factoring into the development of a polio vaccine as well as research about nuclear weapons and space travel. Today, HeLa cells, as they were dubbed, live on and are used in much of the biomedical research being conducted at a lab near you.

The real story, however, is in Henrietta’s past and the lives of the family members who survive her. Skloot uses Henrietta’s story as a tool to examine complex issues that still plague us 60 years after Henrietta’s death–informed consent, medical and research ethics, health disparities, access to care, race, and donors’ rights.

I flew through this book because I could not put it down, and I would recommend it to anyone. There’s seriously something here for every reader. Plus, you’ll learn a thing or two. I promise!

Don’t skip the foreword or the afterword. And let me know what you think!

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About mbdevilbiss

Until 2009, I never really thought much about Wisconsin. When I did, it was usually in the context of silent pep talks I'd give myself as I walked from the Metro station to my downtown D.C. office on blustery January mornings. "This isn't so bad," I'd tell myself. "Just imagine if you were in...Wisconsin!" *shiver* It wouldn't make me any warmer, but I could finish the 12-minute walk secure in the knowledge that I lived so, so far away from Canada. And then, one Saturday in early June, I went to a cookout and met a boy. He was wonderful and he was also moving to Madison, WI, to begin a PhD program in August. After a year of emails, phone calls, and biweekly visits, we shoved the last of my belongings into a jam-packed moving truck and headed west. As of October 9, 2010, I was an Accidental Wisconsonite. I'm no Sconnie, and I'll never be able to claim that prestigious status, but I'm loving life here so far. My blog is a place for writing about this life, and I hope you enjoy my Midwestern adventure as much as I have been.
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2 Responses to It’s Aliiiiive!

  1. molly says:

    since you started this blog, you have confirmed my desire to read 2 books i’ve been eyeing and provided me with many recipes to try. i’m pretty sure you owe me about 5 years worth of this kind of info…

  2. Jimmy says:

    Wait a sec….MB!!!!! When did you start a blog?!

    Count me as another follower.

    My fav blogger had an ongoing discussion about Mrs. Lacks, if you’d like to read a little more about her: http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2010/02/henrietta-lacks-and-race/35286/ and here http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2010/02/devastating/35246/

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