I need to stop saying I don’t like nonfiction and start saying I enjoy immersive nonfiction. It seems the majority of nonfiction works that I do like are those that delve deeper into societal issues from a different perspective, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Amazon Associates Link).
This was a fascinating read and it constantly reminded me of an updated (more micro-focused) version of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man in which he discusses and shows the errors of many scientists whose procedures created ultimately racist data. If you enjoyed Skloot’s work you should definitely check out Gould’s, although it’s not as much about the personal stories behind the family and behind Skloot’s interest in this subject which makes Skloot’s work more approachable to the general public.
I’m not surprised it took me this long to actually get a copy of the book, but I’m sad it did. This was a fascinating read about the family’s personal issues, the ethical issues, the scientific issues of the infamous HeLa cells and Skloot’s personal story and relationships to all of it. What I found most fascinating was the evolution of the scientific community over time and how much has changed since the cells were first gathered in the 1940s/50s. I think that science and research are vitally important to the continuation of society, but I have to agree with something Skloot said in her afterward,
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