266 of 329 people found the following review helpful
5 star story
, February 17, 2010
This review is from: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Hardcover)
Just so id doesn't sound like I damn this book with faint praise, let me say that this was an excellent story told well (for the most part). I'll save the synopsis for others. Needless to say, Henrietta Lacks' story is just as gripping as the science that was done with her cells. You will most likely enjoy her story (as I did).
The author spends a rather substantial portion of the book describing her own efforts. It didn't add to Henrietta's story and leaving it out would have made for a better, more concise narrative.
Black people were treated inhumanely to say the least (go look up the Tuskeegee Syphilis Study, for example). At the risk of sounding callous, this is well trod ground and some of it could also have been omitted for the sake of brevity without losing any of the story's impact.
Lastly, there is an implicit condemnation of the doctors that took her cells (the author does say that this was "common practice" at the time). I can tell you that as a former cancer patient who has been biopsied more times than I care to remember, once a doctor removes something from you, it's gone. They are not going to pay you for it.
Those criticism aside, this is a worthy read.
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