Review Of A Book About Cells By Rebecca Skloot

2273 Words 10 Pages
How would you feel if somebody took something from you and then it became a billion-dollar industry? What if what they took was part of your body? This the peculiar situation Henrietta Lacks went through in 1951. Mrs. Lacks was a 30-year-old African American who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hospital. Being a young, black woman in the 1950’s meant Henrietta respected the doctors and didn’t think they would do any wrong. That’s until they collected a sample of her cancer cells without her permission. This started a whole new world for the medical field and in the end was the sole reason for many medical breakthroughs. The author, Rebecca Skloot does an excellent job at retelling Henrietta’s story. Skloot adds in so many …show more content…
He talks not only about the cells, but all the wide range of topics she poses through the Lack’s story. “It is also about a wide range of topics, including bioethics, race in America, social class divisions, poverty, public understanding…” (Gifford) Gifford uses the story as a means to point out the issue that even 60 years later, Henrietta’s decedents still can’t afford medical care. He tells of how the biggest benefits they have received from her cells are free tuition and books, through the Henrietta Lacks Foundation founded by Skloot. This really shows how little the family was cared about, even though Henrietta cells were so important to science. He also points out how until Rebecca published this book, nobody had told or cared about the real human faces associated with HeLa. Gifford brings up the race factor of Henrietta’s treatment. He states that even though there was racism through this process, the way they took Henrietta’s cells was no different than what John Hopkins would have done to a Caucasian woman. He says that the race factor does play a role in how the Lack’s handled the situation in that day. Their knowledge of the situation was very vague and after that fact, they had to just live in the dark due to no one wanting to explain what was actually going on. Gifford defends the actions of George Gey, because he believes Gey had the best interest in mind for humanity. By …show more content…
Her review differs in a few ways from Robert Gifford’s. She holds Rebecca Skloot in very high regards. “Science writing is often just about "the facts." Skloot 's book, her first, is far deeper, braver and more wonderful”. She also raves about her by saying, “Skloot narrates the science lucidly, tracks the racial politics of medicine thoughtfully and tells the Lacks family 's often painful history with grace.” Lisa seems to appreciate the depth that Skloot went into by keying into the emotional side of the story. She also seems to more agree that there were injustices done against the Lack’s family. Lisa definitely values that Skloot showed Deborah’s journey over the years. The relationship they have is very heartwarming to Lisa. Both Gifford and Margonolli talk about the input about the other ethical cases of tissue and organs being taken without consent. I think this part of the story really helps to show how it wasn’t just the Lack’s that felt there was an injustice. Margonolli ends with how touching it was for her when Christoph showed Deborah and Zackariyaa a painting of the cells. She ends her review with a quote from Deborah saying, "You 're famous," she whispered. "Just nobody knows it." I think that Margonolli connected with the book on an emotional level, while Gifford more looked at the underlying issues that were

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