bookgirll (bookgirll) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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12/50 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

     This book is a must read! I started it way back in March, then had to put it aside for awhile. You see, Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in a matter of months. This was too much to bear after my own diagnosis of ovarian cancer in April. After the shock and panic of my own life settled into a daily routine after about 2 months, I could handle Henrietta's tragic story once again. Her story is not only about her own disease but also about her family and about medicine. You see, her doctor took a sample of her cancer cells 60 years ago. Since then her cells have proved to be especially hardy, essentially immortal. Billions of dollars have been earned from these cells, but her family and her children lived in poverty. The author, Rebecca Skloot, has mastered reportage. She taught me  science, introduced me to Henrietta's family, and wove a provocative story. She made me question the doctor-patient relationship and what is moral and ethical is regards to tissue samples. She made me  ponder the capitalistic economy that drives the profits that drives medical research. Who owns  tissue? But most of all, Rebecca Skloot put me in the shoes of this family. Great read!!

7/5 stars

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