The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
Revelatory is the word that best sums up this book for me. I am interested in how the socioeconomic environment generally, and health systems in particular, affect our wellbeing, and I know about the inequities in the U.S. health care system that affect minorities and women. But all my studies did not give me the insights that this look into the death of one African American woman revealed. From the diagnosis and treatment of her cancer in the early 1950's, the book takes the reader on a journey through the labs of medical researchers, the theories of medical ethicists and the arguments in courts of law to explain how human tissues are used to research new drugs and treatments. But it doesn't stop there. The book parallels the scientific story with the saga of how one African American family experiences the American health care system: the indignities, the miscommunication, and the mistrust. I think everyone needs to read this book to understand what is going wrong with our health care system. But more importantly, white Americans need to read this book to better understand how people of color experience--or don't experience--health care in our country.
Wonder and heartbreaking all at the same time. It had me just about in tears at times. The authors respect for the family really shows. I can't recommend this book enough.
I love audio books and podcasts. I am a nerd but a slow reader so these books are a truly amazing.
This book has everything i love. A complex and interning story that is well written and weaves in the present day and history that i have never heard before. The author also touches on important social justice issues involving race, education, income inequality, informed consent, and medical research. This book informs and challenges on multiple levels. It should be taught in ever college introduction class.
I am so glad that the author decided to pursue this story and write it in a way to tell the story of the woman and her family. It put a personal touch to what happened to people in a time when they had no say, nor did they understand. Times have changed and science is now among us and destined to enrich the lives of the future. Henrietta's cells have made advancement in science and helped so many.
My hat is off to this author. Well done!
I loved this story! As a non-technical professional, this was the best possible mix of science and human interest.
As for the narrator, I was surprised to see so much praise for her performance. Maybe being an African American woman from the south made me particularly aware of how off her portrayals of black southerners were. I especially found the voices in the dialogues between Henrietta and her family members to extremely hard to listen to and almost offensive. Thankfully that wasn't a significant part of the reading; I couldn't have made it through otherwise. I would have preferred the voice actress who made occasional appearances to have a more prominent role. The narrator did a great job on the other aspects, but I truly cringed, clenched and shuddered almost any time a black "character" had something to say.
This was an awesome story that had plenty of drama and scientific history. What a great story, at times a little difficult to remember what year you're in due to the complexity of the story. The interview at the end really helped to explain why this was.
The fact that Henrietta's cells are so unique & have helped treat so many diseases is unbelievable, shocking, riveting & heaven-sent.
I'm sad to see that so many people can only see it from the negative side - they choose to believe that she was taken advantage of, they can only complain about her family not getting anything out of it. Are humans really this greedy and self-centered?
I was disappointed to see so much of the book dedicated to the political side of this issue & giving credence to these negative thoughts.
I would have loved to hear more of the human story - about how she lived her life. I would have loved to hear a dozen personal stories about how Henrietta's cells helped save others' lives, & how grateful those people were when they realized it was all due to one special, humble lady.
The bottom line to me is that Henrietta received special care that she could not afford. In return for the care, her would-be discarded cells were used for priceless research that has bettered the lives of human-kind all over the world.
It is an astonishing blessing. I would willingly give away my cells with no greedy self-serving thoughts if they could be used for such important research.
Great book. Eye-opening information. Great narration. Definitely worth buying! The hard copy has pictures. Wish they could integrate that feature into audio books as attachments...