We will be reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

  • January 12, 2014 · 11:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Join or login to comment.

  • Susa

    Thanks to everybody for a lively discussion - a fascinating topic, of shall I say topics. There were so many aspects of life, family, ethics, science and history. Thanks David for your comment about the women in the Lacks family… we didn't touch on that, but I agree with your observation. Henrietta (and Rebecca who brought her back to "life") will definitely go into our top ten!

    January 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to make it out today. I really enjoyed the book, definitely a subject I didn't know about that was fascinating. A total side note to the overall story and social commentary, it's amazing how, almost without exception (besides the abusive aunt who raised Henrietta's kids for a while), the women in the family have tried to create positive lives for themselves and their children while the men were abusive, philandering, drug/alcohol addicts, etc. Even later on in life, the women were concerned with honoring Henrietta and finding out the truth, while the men would talk about how they should get money since the HELA cells came from their mother/grandmother. Hope you liked it too, please post the next book after the meetup today, I have some long plane rides coming up and will need entertainment! :)

    January 12, 2014

  • iz

    Regrettably, something has come up and will not be able to make it today. Loved the book and sorry to miss the discussion. Will listen to the Radiolab program.

    January 12, 2014

  • Rita H

    http://www.radiolab.org/story/91716-henriettas-tumor/
    The above link gives the background. The ten minute link below also features Deborah, Henrietta's daughter.

    January 12, 2014

  • Rita H

    There is a ten minute Radiolab program on HeLa cells at the following link:
    http://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/91716

    January 12, 2014

  • Susa

    Just finished the book - loved it!! I am so looking forward to discussing this!

    January 8, 2014

  • Colleen

    Thanks Rita. Happy New Year to all and I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday at the new Park & Sixth on Washington.

    January 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just finished "Zealot", onto this book!

    December 22, 2013

  • iz

    Didn't think I would like it, however, I'm about half-way through the book, cannot put it down, and loving it...

    December 22, 2013

  • Susa

    Hi all - I am so sorry I missed our last club. Seems you guys had fun!! I was struck by a cold and really not presentable. I am really looking forward to our next book - I worked myself with HeLa cells in the lab…
    Have a wonderful wonderful holiday break - see you all next year!!!

    December 15, 2013

  • Colleen

    Looking forward to both the book and the brunch. Enjoy the holidays.

    December 14, 2013

  • Sue

    I haven't been to Park & Sixth yet! Looking forward.

    December 14, 2013

  • Rita H

    Enjoy the holidays! See you on January 12.

    December 14, 2013

9 went

Create your own Meetup Group

Get started Learn more
Henry

I decided to start Reno Motorcycle Riders Group because I wanted to be part of a group of people who enjoyed my passion... I was excited and nervous. Our group has grown by leaps and bounds. I never thought it would be this big.

Henry, started Reno Motorcycle Riders

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy