Apr 27, 2011

I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks over a month ago yet I hesitated about posting about it because its so damn sad.  The book tells the tale of the first line of "immortal" cancer cells kept going in science labs.  It also mixes the tale of the woman they came from with science, social commentary, and history.  The author does a good job of keeping everything interesting and informative.

What stuck with me the most though was how hard life was for this woman and how the family was disregarded by the rest of the world.  The fact that it took so long for anyone to take the time to explain the meaning and use of Henrietta's cells to the children is astonishing to me. 

I recently saw this type of book referred to as a micro-history and I think that's genius.  This is exactly the kind of history I like reading - something that takes one subject, however specialized and minute, and dives deep into it. 


1 comment:

  1. Initially I was not interested, but a co-worker handed me her copy and said, "I read this in a day." I read it in two days.

    What turned me off to wanting to read it was the subject of cells, not interesting to me. The human story drew me in and the chapters on the cells were very accessible to someone who took a college course that was unofficially known as "science for art majors" (excellent drawings were expected ).