The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Reviewed by E. Mankowski, April 2020

The year of 1951 marked a turning point in scientific research in the United States and later, the world. One of the most influential subjects of research, the HeLa cells, had been discovered by a scientists by the name of Dr. George Gey. The origin of the cells remained a mystery until the publishing of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The nonfiction novel details a biography of the Lacks family, and how Skloot became interested in learning the true root of the cells. Skloot proceeds to unravel the myths and coverups of various scientists, who did not want to know the cells were the result of a African American woman’s cervical cancer. High school readers who enjoy learning about a pivotal aspect of scientific research will enjoy following Skloot on her quest to learn and write about the cells of legend.