The book goes back and forth between the scientific research, discoveries, and accomplishments of Henrietta’s immortal cells, referred to as HeLa, and how her family responded to the disclosure of them. The cells were removed from a biopsy without permission in an all black hospital named Johns Hopkins and had such a big importance to science that the lab assistant for her autopsy stepped back and realized, “Oh jeez, she’s a real person”. Henrietta’s cells had been used in more than 60,000 scientific studies including cancer, AIDs, gene mapping, and numerous other scientific pursuits. Her children were in shock when they found out their mother’s cells had been through so much, they had even been to outer space! One of Lacks’s sons asked Skloot, “If our mother is so important to science, why can’t we afford health insurance?”
Why It’s NOT Worth The Read
Although the book made me feel empathy towards Henrietta’s children, the amount of science writing was not to my liking. The switch between science and the family left me irritated. The book had no cliffhanger or surprise. I felt if I were to stop reading the book halfway through, I wouldn’t miss anything important. By the first 100 pages, I noticed that I knew enough about the book and there was not going to be any story line. Skloot did a quality job researching and writing the book, however, it was just not for me.