Book Club News


Our first book club meeting was a success with six members present and others who are interested on the horizon. Yummy snacks were served, we decided on housekeeping issues with a date and place for our next meeting. People were enthusiastic when we shared ideas about the book choice. No fireworks or opposing views were expressed, and we all agreed it was a good read.

I am not a professional book reviewer and I confess this my first book review. Needles to say and I am going to say it anyway… It will not be like book reviews from The Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post. It will be more along the lines of The L.W. Independent Book Reviews: Lolly Writes Independent.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

Rating: 4

This is a story about the life and death of Henrietta Lacks, a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in the “colored” ward at John Hopkins Hospital in 1950. This is a story about how her cells were taken without her knowledge. This is a story about how Henrietta’s cells, named HeLa by scientists, were grown and lived to benefit research all over the world and are living today. This is a story that questions the ethics of things that may be labeled for the good of science. And this is a story that at the heart weaves a tale of Henrietta’s children and family.  It is their story of how losing their mother and learning about the existence of her immortal cells played out in their lives.

This book took a decade for the author to piece to together. It traces the journey of the infamous HeLa cells as the reader learns the follies and mistakes that lead to scientific discovery and its human repercussions spanning the 1950’s to the present.

Rebecca Skloot is a storyteller who weaves the intimate feelings of Henrietta Lacks’ family with the scientific events that embody Henrietta’s cells. She captures the human interest as well as the scientific implications of this powerful and significant story.

I found this book at times riveting as the story revealed not only the human side, but also the momentous contributions of Henrietta Lacks’ cells to science. I won’t say the whole book was a page-turner, but I will say it is a must read for people who want to be informed and an easy read that unfolds like a novel.

Let me know if you have read this book and share your insights. Does anyone have any recommendations of books that you think are important and keep people informed?

Rating Scale for LW Independent Book Reviews:

5: Great Read

4: Good Read

3: Average Read

2: Tough Read

1: Don’t Read

Scale is open to review and I suspect it will change overtime. Please notice it has elements of tongue-in-cheek.




One thought on “Book Club News

  1. Jackie

    Not bad for a first effort! I thought your synopsis was really well done and covered the basic story line. Yes, I have read the book, and I’d give it a 3 or 3 1/2. I found the family story to be quite interesting because the people involved were from such a different background from both myself and the author. Although I can appreciate how difficult the author’s job was, I didn’t find the book as compelling as I had hoped. I guess I was thinking there would be more science and less sociology.
    As far as books that are important and keep people informed, I’m really enjoying Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It is written very much in the style of the Malcolm Gladwell books (Outliers, The Tipping Point, etc.): a nice combination of human interest and scientific research.

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