Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Crown see Random 2010 369p 26.00
978-1-4000-5217-2 hs/adult E-BN
A tale of bioethics, racism, and modern day science.
This is the amazing true story of the woman whose tissues were harvested by medical researchers and became the basis for the HeLa cell line that aided medical science after her death and without the knowledge of her or her family. Henrietta Lacks, mother of five, was being treated for cervical cancer. She was a poor woman who died of the disease not knowing that her cells were harvested by medical researchers. These cells, named by scientists as HeLa, became the basis for the cell line that traveled the world and became the source of a multimillion dollar industry that sells human biological materials, as well as the foundation of scientific research that facilitated medical discoveries on polio and AIDS among others. Skloot, a medical journalist, writes about how medical research was perpetrated on an impoverished and vulnerable African American woman. She became friends with Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and tells of the devastation of the discovery of how the cells were used without consent, the effect this exploitation had on the family, and the life Lacks and her family lived. A tale of bioethics, racism, and modern day science, this book presents the facts in a poignant manner, but lets the reader decide on the implications medical science has on society. This true tale of bioethics, racism, and modern day science should be in every high school library and is recommended for Tristate Books of Note, 2011. Weinraub, Tina