I had never heard of the HeLa cells until i listened to this book. But everyone with an interest in health care and medical research needs to read this book. HeLa stands for Henrietta Lacks and contribution that her cancer cells have made since 1951 are innumerable. Read this book!!
The story of Henrietta's family is so outrageous that this story was difficult to pause. The story explains the origins of many important scientific discoveries. It is incredible that Henrietta Lacks is not a household name!
If I were to create a list of the top 10 most important books I've ever read, this would be one of them, because the story is so profound and did so much to raise my consciousness about the type of medical treatment, if you can call it that, and medical exploitation many Black people have experienced in this country during our history. At the same time, this is about an important discovery in medical history that continues to impact all of us every day. The author does this while weaving into the medical history human stories that will tug at your heart and make vivid the ethical issues at stake. On a personal note, one of my daughters got the same rare kind of cancer that Henrietta Lacks had, and this story showed me how aggressive and horrendous that cancer might have been if it had not been treated properly and early.
The counterpoint between the story of the scientific impact of this cell research, and the impacts on the Lacks family.
Debra's struggle to shed the "burden of the cells"
This should be required reading for biological scientists, who need to realize that the cells they use in their research came from human beings.
first listen. So it's the best one!
Not done yet, but it's great
laugh and cry
Every public health and med student should read or listen to this. I travel a lot, and read journal articles monday through friday, so it was great to listen to. Scary stuff about research, racism and US history. I'm so glad this story was told.
What happened to Henrietta Lacks sounds like sci-fi: it is perhaps one of the most interesting science-related real stories. It's a challenging task because there are so many aspects that need to be included for the general audience to understand in depth, but the author did a good job. This book interweaves perspectives of cellular biology, medical patent history and African American culture in a crafted way that was understandable and eye-opening for me. The author went back and forth between the history of Henrietta, the history of medical patent, and her journey of researching the story in an organized chronological fashion. She's knows her stuff and she told it well. Having a female African American narrator also really helped give the characters voices and made it a great listening experience.
You've used them. In science class, or more indirectly, HeLa cells have had a measurable impact on our knowledge of human cells, and they continue to permeate our world, decades after the originator died.
The only thing that comes to mind is The Know-It-All. Both books are arguably about a specific topic (the origin of HeLa versus the Encyclopedia), but have excessive amounts of author info. Information is presented in such a way that you basically follow the author as they researched the idea. It's not my favorite structure, honestly, as I was interested in Henrietta Lacks, not Rebecca Skloot.
Campbell has an accent that bugs me. This is kind of a silly complaint, but it was a persistent annoyance, and coupled badly with my dislike of the author self-inserting herself in a story that has no need of her. The author voice and the actual voice mixed together like they normally do, and I found myself imagining a pretty unflattering picture of Skloot.
The history of medicine info was horrifying, and the treatment of Lack's family (esp. the lack of a clear explanation of what was going on) was frustrating.
This story is absolutely fascinating.
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The narration is superb, and the story of Henrietta Lacks, her family, and the fate of her cells (known as HELA to the science community) are compelling. I didn’t know about HELA cells or Henrietta Lacks’ life story before listening to this book. Apparently, most of the world hadn’t heard of Henrietta either, despite her enormous contribution to medical research. Ms. Skloot tells the story of Henrietta, a black woman living in poverty during the 1950’s; she is sick and unable to pay for health care. While receiving treatment at John Hopkins, her cells are taken for research without her consent or knowledge. The cells become responsible for countless medical breakthroughs for diseases such as cancer, polio and more. The results are immeasurable, yet it isn’t until years later her identity is revealed. As the author recounts this story, she touches upon controversial topics such race and ethics in the medical community. The author does a terrific job of describing the medical jargon in simple layman’s terms while keeping the story interesting and thought provoking. It would make an excellent book club choice and will surely spur a lively discussion with your group.
The book is well written and well read. It is an informative look at Henrietta Lacks, the times in which she lived and the life of a black woman and her struggles and the manner in which medicine, doctors and the legal system treated women and black women, at the time, and I fear even today in America. Excellent book.
I loved the growth of the author as she follows the leads, but does not add to the harm done to this family. The tempo of the story keeps you listening.
I was happy to learn about the importance of this woman to all of us. I am sorry that the importance of her genes is not common knowledge.
no, but they did a very good job here.
Because of this book I have widened my reading habits. I am glad I have.