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The Sciences

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumNovember 9, 2009 10:37 PM

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has a book coming out next year... and it sounds spectacular! There's already a lot of buzz surrounding the publication of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and this morning Rebecca and her book appeared as the cover story of Publisher's Weekly behind the heading 'The Making of a Bestseller 2010'. Congratulations to our former SciBling! Here's what PW has to say:

Rebecca Skloot

Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about "faith, science, journalism, and grace." It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women--Skloot and Deborah Lacks--sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah's mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. 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. Skloot's portraits of Deborah, her father and brothers are so vibrant and immediate they recall Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. 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. - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

An excerpt is available online as well as details on the Immortal tour. I'm so excited for Rebecca and already anticipating her book's debut!

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