Heard about this book on NPR's 'Fresh Air.' The story of Henrietta's 'HeLa' cells are mind blowing, the way they have impacted our lives in so many ways. This story really becomes the story of Henrietta's family, who are unfortunately extremely naive in terms of the impact her cells have had on medical history. One feels very badly for them, and frankly, whenever I have to sign a concent form in a Dr.'s office, I'm super sensitive to any verbiage stating my cells can be used for commercial purposes. The bummer about this is the amount of (boring) detail the author gets into tracing the legacy and history of cell culturing in our society. Great research, but at times reads like a science book.
Being a big Stephen King fan, I was intrigued to see how he would handle this extreme moment in American History. What never seems to disappear from his story telling is his acute ability to 'take us there.' Weather it's current time in Maine or Dallas in 1958, the attention to detail and nuances of life is vivid. Perhaps what I loved most about this particular story was King's ability to tell a love story second to none. King loves to be nostalgic. No doubt about that. But, the ability to feel both like a man and a woman falling in love is the thing I will love most about this book. The time travel, and the many threads that must be considered by the 'threads' created is made simple...you could actually see something like this happening! Great reading by the narrator who had to handle Maine, GA, and Texas accents, both men and woman. Absolutly great buy and I highly recommend it. One bit of a downer. King is an unabashed liberal. That twist becomes very prevalent in the end, which I find a little disappointing.
The moment I heard the narrator begin, it was very easy to imagine this very articulate Brit actually being a beast that feasts on human flesh. Perfect intonation for the lead character.
Jake as the lead character is sublime in his seeming hatred of who he really is, yet needing so badly to feel the human touch of love. There is major juxtoposition here, and his dealing with this as an aging antagonist is cool to behold.
Well, this is gross. And, without giving to much away....let's just say Jake's love interest in this book shares the same 'condition' as him. As such, they 'feed' on the same food source. The first time they dine together is both treachery and love at the same time.
At certain times, the book can be extreme. Frankly, I think the description of the sex scenes were more graphic than the horror scenes.
I've only listened to a handful of audio books, and this is the first one I could not continue, and would like a refund for. I could not stand listening to the narration of a 5 year old child. I get it. That is the situation and the POV for this book. But, there is so much baby talk that in my opinion could of been minimized. I'm sure I'm alone in this aspect, given the reviews the books has gotten. I have tried 3 times to go back and give it a try, and just can't do it.
I bought this audio book based on reviews I read and I was not disappointed. The character development is second to none in terms of books I have read/heard. From the perspective of very poor children in Ethiopia, to the parents and adults that teach and parent them, we get to know these characters better then we know our best friends, or even ourselves.
Dowloading this book was a risk. Ethiopia? What did I know about that country, and how could I relate with characters that live there? This book illustrates like no other that humans the world over suffer the same fates, and experience the same wonderful joys: Murder, lust, love, dreaming of a better future, unspeakable pain, etc. I came to know the characters and smell what they smelled. Living through their eyes, I came to know unrequited love and unspeakable pains that we inflict on each other. Listening to Sunil Malhotra narrate this book, it became a soothing, piercing story, that I could not wait to turn on every chance I got.
I cannot recall a better book that I have ever read or listened to. Bravo to Mr. Verghese. My biggest regret as I head out to do yard work today: I will not have this wonderful audio/book to accompany me.
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