MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Book Buddies Wanted for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is the 2014 choice for the Book Buddy program. I will be using the Book Buddy program with this book in my Humanities class. The Book Buddy program is comprised of matching students with faculty, staff and administrators in approximately three e-mail “conversations” about the novel as we read it together. We will begin reading the book immediately upon our return after Intersession until March 5, since we will need to be prepared for the Lacks family visit on Wednesday, March 12. If you would like to sign up as a Book Buddy with one of my students to discuss this instant best seller as acclaimed by New York Times, The Washington Post, Science, U.S. News and World Report, please e-mail me at: <>.

From Publishers Weekly

Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line—known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta's death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children. Writing in plain, clear prose, Skloot avoids melodrama and makes no judgments. Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society's most vulnerable people.

Liz Pierce
English Philosophy