This month in Between the Lines Book Club we are reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We will discuss the book in person on April 28, 2018, at Arden Dimick Library.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a non-fiction book that tells three intertwined stories. One is a biography of a black woman named Henrietta Lacks. When Lacks died of cervical cancer, some of her cells were collected for resear uses. That cell line is unusually hardy, meaning HeLa cells have been used ever since Lack’s death, even in experiments in space.
The second story is that of the cells and how they have contributed to science. It’s also a story about ethics and consent in an era in which we can sequence a person’s genome.
The third story is about Lack’s family and their quest to know more about their mother and her cells. Rebecca Skloot spends a lot of time with the family helping them understand the science behind Lack’s cells. Today they continue efforts to encourage stricter practices with regard to consent.
One of the fun elements of Rebecca’s website is her FAQ page, in which she answers pretty much every question that I would think to ask. Should you care to peruse it, you’ll discover that she was kicked out of a lot of schools,
Rebecca has also given a lot of interviews. Here she is on NPR’s All Things Considered
Here she is on NPR again, this time on Fresh Air.
Just for fun, here’s Rebecca on the Colbert Report!