The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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A New York Times best seller now adapted into a HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey & Rose Byrne.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than 20 years after her death, with devastating consequences....
Rebecca Skloot's fascinating account is the story of the life, and afterlife, of one woman who changed the medical world forever. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 18 minutes|
|Narrator||Bahni Turpin, Cassandra Campbell|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||23 July 2019|
|Publisher||Macmillan Australia Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank||
5,021 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
4 in Medical Ethics
5 in Biochemistry (Books)
11 in Biographies of Science & Technology Leaders
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Top reviews from Australia
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The story of Henrietta and her family was tragic, unjust and sad. The scientific side of this read was in-depth and interesting as it punctuated throughout the book the evolution of the Hela cells.
It wasn't a book that I would have picked up myself but I am very pleased it was chosen and that I listened to it. Rebecca Skloot wrote the Lacks story in the way they spoke with made it feel alive.
Top reviews from other countries
The book couldn't have been written without addressing race both in its history and in the underlying impact that segregation and underservice has had on communities. Henrietta Lacks had what happened to her happen because she was black, no doubt about that, but this book spends more time on explaining how the white woman gained the trust of Henrietta's remaining family than it does on the actual life of Henrietta Lacks!
The writing was nothing particularly special, the chronology of the book jumps around so much they've included a timeline to remind you where you are (though it does so to disguise a few minorly startling events). The book reads like a book report that an overzealous white ninth-grade horsegirl would have to write on Beloved by Toni Morrison: self-congratulatory and constantly reminding people that she's not like the poor black folk just because she's telling you about their story.
I recommend getting this one from the library. Read it for Henrietta's life, which comprises about two or three chapters only(!) and know that nothing gets resolved re: gene/tissue ownership (for anyone) by the end of the book.
I have also just watched the film (on a plane journey) and have to say I was very disappointed with it - it in no way does justice to the book - so if you have only watched the movie, don't let it put you off reading the book - the book is SO much better.
This is a non fiction about Henrietta Lacks, a black women who died of cancer of the cervix in a time where black people didn't question white people, it was the time of Jim Crow laws, segregation and black people were just happy to be getting treatment since discrimination in hospitals was widespread.
The history of smear tests and HPV are also covered here, it's very readable and the author has done a great job of making these science heavy subjects very digestible.
But this isn't a history of science, its the history of a woman, a woman we should all know the name of.
As a side note I am totally baffled that until recently we had to opt into a donor scheme to save a life with our organs yet we have no claim on our tissues and cells for medical research. Mind-blowing.