662 Followers
138 Following
ClioReads

Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

Engrossing if Not Especially Artful Read

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

I finished this about two months ago, and read it surprisingly quickly given the density of the subject matter. Although the writing isn't especially artful, Skloot has a gift for accessibility: first, she somehow managed to cross barriers of class, race, and disparate education to win the Lacks family's trust in order to tell this story at all -- no small feat, especially since others had tried and failed, and each prior attempt inspired in the Lackses an understandable distrust of journalists and outsiders, including Skloot herself. Second, Skloot's no-frills, no-nonsense prose makes the science at the core of this story accessible to readers like me, who may be several decades removed from their last biology class. At any rate, this book is a wonder: both epic in its sweeping overview of the explosive evolution of medical and tissue research over the course of the last half-century or so, of race-relations in the United States during that same period,and the thorny ethical quandaries that necessarily result... but also intimate and empathetic in its respect for the woman, Henrietta, whose short life is the lens through which this epic story is filtered and viewed.

 

***Originally posted at GR December 2011.***