The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot; A Review

This New York Times bestseller has been gleaming around bookshop aisles and virtual bookshelves ever since it got printed. 
Human diseases need a cure, for cure, we need research on the infection/disease. A high percentage cure are invented by rigorous research(even serendipitous ones), We can test on mice and monkeys, but, ultimately we need human cells to test.
 Researchers and bio-technologists around the globe need human cells on petri-dish to study them, to culture them, then to bombard them with infections, drugs, radiation and what not. There is a huge problem in there, human cells invariably die outside the body and on petri-dish. However, cancer cells of a woman in the 1950s survived on petri-dish and multiplied profusely.

Touted as one of the important steps in medical field in 20th century. This book is a story of Hela cells, and of the Woman, the Hela cells were extracted from, and her descendants.


The book traces the tragic life of Black community before the King era, the story is instantly likable. Intriguing to the most part as the author tries to contact various people around Henrietta Lacks to gather information about her life and the “immortal” life of her cancerous cells. The story somewhat dwindles in effect as it tries to please the descendants of Henrietta Lacks in few pages. The reader might get weary with constant nagging by few characters. Nevertheless, rich with racism, segregation, ethics and an incredible life of human or almost-human cells, this one is a page-turner.


If you are remotely close to medical field or is just interested in a good real life story. This one is a must read. The language is very simple. Overall 4/5


She died in 1951. What happened next changed the world.


P.S: The book “Emperor of all maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee” mentions about this whole book in a single sentence only. 🙂