The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9781400052189, 381pp.)

Publication Date: March 8, 2011

List Price: $16.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '11 Reading Group List
“HeLa cells been the source of profound advancements in medical, biological and genetic research, but up until now the story of Henrietta Lacks and her legacy has never been heard. Her story served as the spur for reform movements in medical ethics and patient privacy, and Skloot shares the details with both candor and sensitivity.”
-- John Clukey, Sam Weller's Books, Salt Lake City, UT


Description
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells--taken without her knowledge in 1951--became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.



About the Author
REBECCA SKLOOT is an award-winning science writer and the best-selling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.


NPR
Thursday, Aug 25, 2011

Many colleges assign books that all incoming freshmen must read over the summer. A popular 2011 assignment is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, about a cell line taken without consent from a black woman with cervical cancer. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Friday, Mar 18, 2011

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks died after a long battle with cervical cancer. Doctors cultured her cells without permission from her family. The story of those cells and of the medical advances that came from them, is told in Rebecca Skloot's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. On page xiii, Rebecca Skloot states, "This is a work of nonfiction. No names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated." Consider the process Skloot went through to verify dialogue, re-create scenes, and establish facts. Imagine trying to re-create scenes such as when Henrietta discovered her tumor (page 15). What does Skloot say on pages xiii–xiv and in the notes section (page 346) about how she did this?

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