"This must be fiction." The first thing I thought when I read the synopsis for the book being featured for a UIC book club. I couldn't believe the story, but really, who am I kidding?
I have yet to begin reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks', by Rebecca Skloot, for the UIC Urban Allied Health Academy Spring 2010 Book Group that I just joined, but I cannot wait to start. Here is a brief summary:
"HeLa cells (named for Henrietta Lacks), which were removed from Mrs. Lacks during a biopsy and cultured without her permission, have helped build thousands of careers, not to mention more than 60,000 scientific studies, revealing the secrets of everything from aging and cancer to mosquito mating and the cellular effects of working in sewers. Yet her family remained unaware of Mrs. Lack's contribution to science for over 20 years.
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."
A quote from the book's jacket that I think is perfect, "Deborah (Henrietta's daughter) ... was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance?" Here is a link to the more detailed New York Times review.
Basically, right up my alley.