Your Garage Beauty Summer Reading STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Starting at $39.99 Wickedly Prime Handmade Wedding Rustic Decor Book House Cleaning powers4premiere powers4premiere powers4premiere  Introducing Echo Show All-New Fire HD 8, starting at $79.99 Kindle Oasis Nintendo Switch Water Sports STEMClubToys17_gno

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 4,281 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 5,554 reviews
on October 24, 2016
I ordered this book to read for one of my Ethics classes. I was worried about so much assigned reading to complete in one week, but it turned out to be a book that you just can't put down.

It still amazes me that this is a woman's real life story, the story of her family, and how they have impacted science and anyone who works or benefits from the use of cellular research. That means just about every single person is connected to Henrietta in one way or another.

This was a great book that I'm so glad I read. I learned a lot and it kept me entertained and fascinated for days. It will really change your perspective and make you appreciate this woman's contribution to our scientific and health fields.
11 comment| 84 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 20, 2015
From the very beginning there was something uncanny about the cancer cells on Henrietta Lacks’s cervix. Even before killing Lacks herself in 1951, they took on a life of their own. Removed during a biopsy and cultured without her permission, the HeLa cells (named from the first two letters of her first and last names) reproduced boisterously in a lab at Johns Hopkins — the first human cells ever to do so. HeLa became an instant biological celebrity, traveling to research labs all over the world. Meanwhile Lacks, a vivacious 31-year-old African-American who had once been a tobacco farmer, tended her five children and endured scarring radiation treatments in the hospital’s “colored” ward.
In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Rebecca Skloot introduces us to the “real live woman,” the children who survived her, and the interplay of race, poverty, science and one of the most important medical discoveries of the last 100 years. Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully and tells the Lacks family’s often painful history with grace. She also confronts the spookiness of the cells themselves, intrepidly crossing into the spiritual plane on which the family has come to understand their mother’s continued presence in the world. Science writing is often just about “the facts.” ­Skloot’s book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful.
This work has the most human of stories at its core, and never deviates from that important, and often heartbreaking, humanity. When science appears, it does so effortlessly, with explanations of cell anatomy or techniques like “fluorescence in situ hybridization” seamlessly worked into descriptions of the coloured wards of Johns Hopkins hospital to Lacks’s hometown of Clover, Virginia.
But The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is not a comfortable read. I visibly winced at descriptions of Henrietta’s blackened, burned skin after multiple rounds of devastating radiation treatments. I put the book down with a heavy sigh after reading about the experiments that black Americans have been unwittingly subjected to over the years. I cried twice, at events that I can’t talk about without seriously spoiling the book. But it is uplifting too, particularly in a stand-out chapter where Henrietta’s children, Deborah and Zakariyya, visit a cancer researcher to see their mother’s cells under a microscope.

All of this is to be expected of a book that refuses to shy away from tackling important themes – the interplay between science and ethics, the question of who owns our bodies, and the history of racism in the US. And yet for all its grand scope, skilful writing and touching compassion, there is one simple element that makes As a final thought, I was struck by the parallels between Henrietta’s cells and her story. Henrietta’s entire family history was eventually condensed into a small sliver of cells that you could carry in a glass vial. They have achieved immortality, used by scientists throughout the world. Similarly, her entire life has been condensed into a moving tale and an exceptional book that you could read in a comfortable day. By right, it will achieve the same immortal status.
11 comment| 82 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 16, 2017
What a great book. My previous boss gave me a copy to read and I then bought a copy off of Amazon. I'm sending it to my cousin. Its a must read for anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity.
review image
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2016
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, was a great book that every person should read. The book is about a mother that lives is Baltimore, Maryland and is diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s. A major theme was how important family was, which caused the book to be easy to connect with for the reader. A main reason was because of the deep relationship the author had with family members of Henrietta. To have an accurate account of Henrietta and her life before she died, Skloot had to connect with her family, which was a difficult task because they were used to being taken advantage of because of who their mother was. In addition, the book was very educational and you learned how important her cells were because of how much they helped the medical industry. Even though there was a big focus on scientific information it was easy to read and understand. The book was overall a fair telling of what really happened to Henrietta and her cells because it showed all sides of the story. I think this book should be read by all students because you learn how unethical the medical industry is at times. The book was a fast read that would leave you surprised at points. The story also tackles a variety of topics such as sociology, history, and race.
The main issue I have with the book and why I did not give it five stars is because the first half of the book was much better than the second. The second half was borderline repetitive, included unnecessary details, and focused simply on Henrietta's family. If it continued to still weave in science throughout the second half it would have been a five star book, for me. In the end, you learn a lot about the medical industry and this book is definitely worth the read.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 11, 2015
The first thing I think about after completing a book is - did I enjoy it? I absolutely did enjoy 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'. And that is despite my lack of initial interest in the book jacket synopsis. Author Rebecca Skloot wrote an entertaining and very informative book. But as with a number of other reviewers, I have a lot of different thoughts about the book, some good and some not so good.
The book is really several parallel stories tied closely together. First, there's Henrietta Lack's own story and those of the HeLa cell line developed from her biopsy tissues in 1951. Then there is the story of the Lacks family; impoverished, poorly educated, and ignorant of their mother's medical signifiance. Finally, there's the author's own story about her multi-year effort of research, interviews, and writing Henrietta Lacks' story. At times, the intertwined stories seemed to get in each others way. The disappointing thing to me, is that Henrietta's story itself, gets rather short shrift while the peripheral stories of Henrietta's children, grandchildren, etc.; as well as the author's story, take up the lion's share of the book.
These are fairly minor complaints, however. The book is unique, interesting, and most importantly, a joy to read and I recommend it.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 1, 2016
First let me start by saying, I've seen this book many times, and not being one for biographies and memoirs too much, I passed it by. That is until I started seeing it again. I read the synopsis and was intrigued so much I went and purchased a copy on Amazon. Nothing prepared me for what was between the pages of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
A black woman in the 1950's goes to John Hopkins hospital, which at that time was only hospital in the area to service coloreds. Feeling a knot in her stomach Henrietta Lacks didn't know what to expect, she just knew she wanted to have more children. The series of events that take place after that first visit to John's Hopkin's changed not only the life of Henrietta Lacks, the Lacks children and family but also it changed the world.
In 1988, in a biology class, Rebecca Skoot first learns the name, Henrietta Lacks. That name would be the catalyst to change the life of Rebecca Skoot and forever bind her to the lives of the descendants of the woman scientist only call HeLa.
For more than a decade, the author along with the daughter of Henrietta Lacks, Deborah set off on a journey to learn the truth. The truth in this instance is what really happened to Henrietta Lacks and how her cells came to live forever.
Although this book is scientific in nature the average layman can read it and come to an understanding of the circumstances, life and socioeconomic culture of the time. This author has done an amazing job of bringing to light the events that occurred to render HeLa cells a multimillion dollar industry.
There are so many things to discuss concerning this book. This book should be a must-read for all.
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 4, 2015
Let me start off by saying that I’ve never really been that interested in science. History, yes. Literature, of course. Science, not so much. So, when I first read a review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (circa 2010 in the New York Times Book Review) I surprised myself by wanting to read the book at all. Still, it’s a book about cells… so it took me a while to actually get around to reading it.

Like anyone who took bio in high school and college, I must have come across the HeLa cell in a textbook at one point or another. But I guess it never registered because, before this book, I had no idea what they were and that they all came from the same person. (Had I known that, bio class might have been a tad more interesting.) To me, it seems Rebecca Skloot has managed the unthinkable. She has made cell division entertaining. As I read the book, I was really invested in those cells. I was invested because I knew where they came from and how they had been procured. Tell me a good story and you have me hooked. And a good story Ms. Skloot did tell. She told many stories, in fact. The stories of the cells and Henrietta and the doctors and Henrietta’s children and friends and neighbors and even the author herself. I enjoyed reading them all.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 11, 2014
Rebecca Skloot's book is a story of a scientific development ( the HeLa cells) with a look also at the humans involved . The book follows previous books written about the Curies ( discovers of Radium) and Longitude etc. The book can be broken down into the following aspects.
. Story about the story. A significant section of the book is taken up with the author explaining why she decided to write the story, how she gradually found about the human background and how she gained the confidence of the family. It is becoming more common these days to write a story about how the film was made or book written but I find it a bit boring.
. Scientific side . It appears accurate but drawn-out. Anyone wanting to get a quick view of scientific aspects is advised to look at Wikipedia for about 5 minutes.
. Human side. There are many characters in the book and the author is one of them. Unlike Fictional novels we don't get close to understanding them intimately but get more remote descriptions of their appearance and life stories .
. Moral issues . This seems to be reason for the book's success. The highlights some of the deficiencies of the US Health system int eh 50s. Patients especially poor black ones were not given a say over their treatment or use of their cells in this case. The book even suggests that mistreatment along the line of experiments conducted by NAZI doctors occurred. 50 years later we can look back and say" Well things were different then " but it begs the question " What will people say about us and our practices in 50 years time ?"
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 31, 2014
To begin with I didn't really enjoy this book and bought it purely because of the outstanding reviews it received, but I must commend Skloot on her thorough research and the resolve and patience she maintained over ten years to tell the real story of the Lacks family. .
This first book by Rebecca Skloot, based on the HeLa cells certainly provides food for thought with ethics, morality, research and financial gain allowing a forum for some pretty interesting debate.
I had all sorts of emotions reading the book and not all of them were happy ones.
To begin with, as one who has worked within the medical profession for all my working life, I can only see "good" coming from cell research and the intimation this was "unfair" "unjust" "immoral" etc. from varied sources just made me angry.
I believe, but cannot quote statistics, that litigation is rife in the US with Australia not so bad, but catching up at the rate of knots. The question that consent should be gained from the patient before tissue or body parts can be used for research, and further, that the patient should be informed if there was the possibility of monetary gain in the future, seems ludicrous in the extreme to me. It seems that fear of litigation drives these debates and policies; to the detriment of scientific research and the resultant cures for terrible diseases and suffering of mankind.
In Australia, we have very successful transplant programs, however, there is always the problem with a shortage of donor organs.
Consent must be obtained prior to harvesting organs of course but imagine how much worse this would be if the family sought financial gain from this type of transaction. It would open up a Pandora's box that I hope never to see in my lifetime.
Regarding the Lacks family; their mother left science and the whole human race a wonderful legacy and for that and that alone they should be proud and grateful.
Anything chopped off or out of our bodies is passé. It's no longer useful to us so let the scientists get on with the job of discovery.
My Grandmother left her entire body to a university. Although it makes me feel a little squeamish to think of her floating around in formaldehyde for the next millennia, it was a practical solution for her and there were no funeral costs! Win: win!
The more personal story of the Lacks family was told honestly and with true caring by the author, but I found it difficult at times to build a rapport with this loud,obnoxious and dysfunctional family. I am happy that the younger ones are moving on and proving themselves in a tough world.
I am glad I read the book as I have a better understanding of cell culture but would not recommend to anyone wanting a light uplifting read.....which of course it isn't meant to be.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 22, 2016
The brilliance of this book is the effortlessness with which the author draws the reader into the world of Henrietta Lacks and keeps him there as a tourist or witness. It may be one of the best medical books I have read. Rebecca Skloot took more than ten years to research and write The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book is mainly about a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Doctors took tissue samples from her cervix for research without her knowledge. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line—known as HeLa. After reading this book, I know more about the knowledge of science. Awesome book! Looking forward to reading more books written by Rebecca Skloot!
0Comment| 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse