The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

  • Publication Date: 2010-02-02
  • Category: Biology
4.5 Score: 4.5
(From 1,945 Ratings)


Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne


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.


  • The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

    By Rebeccasoccer
    Great book. So many ethics and science
  • So bad

    By Happy customer 😀
    One of the most boring books I’ve ever read
  • Interesting!

    By vlf3c
    I read it twice. Once for my women’s health class and the other for my bioethical issues in health ed class. Both times I found it equally as interesting. It’s not just about science. Its about the actual person behind the science.
  • Fascinating book

    By happygamer4793
    I don’t normally choose non-fiction, but this book caught my attention. Rebecca Skloot hooks you with an introduction to Henrietta, her family and an intense lesson in biology. Henrietta and Deborah’s family history kept my attention. In addition, I learned an awful lot about tissue, cell lines and the blurred lines between rights to our body and the enormous benefits of scientific research. My heart goes out to Henrietta’s family - especially for Deborah’s awareness of all the good that HeLa cells have done and her commitment to ensuring public awareness of her mother’s contributions. Well done to Rebecca for telling a story that desperately needed telling.
  • Very Educational!

    By Msaintlouis1988
    Henrietta contributed so much to science with her cancerous cells! It’s amazing to know that they are still being used today! What I enjoyed is the education of science by learning about cell culture in this book, the education of informed consent, the education of Black people and experiments in America’s medical history. I loved how the book also discusses Henrietta’s Family and her family history. I wish she knew how much she helped medical science so much! Very great book!
  • Wonderful read!!

    By Fire Trustee
    I became aware of this book when Oprah appeared on "The Talk" 2 days ago. I downloaded it yesterday and read it beginning to end in barely 24 hours! I couldn't put it down!! Can hardly wait to watch the movie adaptation Saturday evening! Very intriguing, informative, and thought-provoking!
  • Fascinating Read

    By pmritagirl
    I bought this book while I was a patient at Hopkins. I heard about the story on local news and was interested to learn who she was and how important HeLa cells are to the world of medicine. Thank you Henrietta- you in essence helped save my life.
  • great read

    By Maurisajoi
    I'm in high school and this was one of the books I was required to read. I absolutely fell in love with it and suggest it to everyone i know.
  • Must Read

    By ohcampoh03
    I was completely moved every time I turned the page of this book. This is a must read story. Rebecca Skloot did a tremendous job portraying all aspects of the story. She was able to describe her journey to gather all the information, Henrietta’s life story, Henrietta’s family, and the science involved. This also conveyed many questions and theories after every single chapter. This broadened a mystery which tests human ethics and morals. With so much happening, Skloot dissected even the smallest events in order to give her audience a deciding factor of what to make about the book. There is no wonder, this novel received so many accolades. The science of this book is very interesting. Skloot was able to describe and define every detail in order to give her audience the best understanding about medical terms. The tone of this story allowed me to be alongside Skloot in her journey about the mystery of Mrs. Henrietta Lacks’s cells. I highly recommend this book for its roller coaster round of events and emotions.
  • Awesome Book

    By Skedo
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an interesting book, the author, Rebecca Skloot does a magnificent job in writing this book. She puts a lot of effort in writing this book as well, from first hearing about the life and significance of Henrietta Lacks when she was 16 up until a couple years ago. Skloot does incredibly awesome in blending science in the book. She is very clear and precise when she explains what mitosis is, and the functions of cells, HeLa cells in particular. Then she explains how the Lacks family went through struggles and tribulations because of the cells that belonged to their beloved wife, and mother. Reading this book helped me improve on showing empathy towards other people, if you are interested in biology and medicine, this is definitely the book for you. This book teaches many important lessons that can be used in our world today, from life in poverty, to racism, the dark history of American medical research, this book has it all.