In all honesty I chose to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks because it was the book I learned more about during the book circles. I looked at the back and found it somewhat interesting. I wanted a book that wasn't difficult to read and Henrietta Lacks was that judging from the first page. My way of choosing my independent book was careless and lazy but it was meant to be that way I guess because this book was great. From the format of alternating from present day back to when Henrietta was alive, to giving so much detail on each character this book was very well written. It made me think critically and view a complicated situation from multiple perspectives. While the story was based on real life events, it was how the information was presented that made it different than any previous non-fiction book I had previously read. It contained a lot of scientific research which provided complexity to the book but still simplistic enough to be understandable and intriguing.
The Plot: The book discusses Henrietta Lacks’ life from her early years to the end of her mortal life and beyond through her cells. After her cells are used, the reader follows how they changed science forever and why by providing the views of researchers and doctors. But most importantly, the book follows the Lacks’ reaction to not knowing for 20 years that a part of Henrietta was still alive. Specifically the story of the author, Rebecca Skloot and Deborah Lacks. This book opens the discussion of the opposing sides of privacy and science while presenting both views.
Why you should read it:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You will chuckle and cry along with the characters because they are so relatable. But what truly makes this book so enjoyable is that it questions your own views. Rebecca Skloot does an incredible job of immersing the reader into the story and allowing them to be intrigued by the difficult situations. Throughout the whole book I was always questioning myself on what I would have done and who I agreed with.
Reviewed by Anahi Orozco