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Rebecca Skloot Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Books

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rebecca Skloot is a New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The book was adapted into an HBO film starring Rose Byrne as Rebecca Skloot, Oprah Winfrey playing the role of Deborah Lacks, and Renee Elise as Henrietta Lacks. The film was subsequently nominated for Emmy Awards. Additionally, Rebecca’s award-winning work of science has featured in The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.
She focuses on narrative science writing and has explored different topics, including tissue ownership rights, goldfish surgery, food politics, race, medicine, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. Additionally, the author has worked as a correspondent for PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW and WNYC’s Radiolab. Rebecca Skloot is the founder of The Henrietta Foundation, which has appeared in the New York Times. She lives with her cat Phineas and dog Clarence in Oakland, California, where she’s working on her latest book. Before switching to science writing, Rebecca spent more than a decade as a veterinary technician in vet clinics, animal shelters, research labs, emergency rooms, and animal morgues. The experiences in the field are at the center of her books, which often explore the controversial debate of animal research through deep personal story with our intricate relationships with animals and their roles in our lives and science.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old black woman died after a fierce battle with rapidly spreading cancer. During her treatment, the doctors at John Hopkins extracted some cells from her withering body and used them for research purposes. This was not usual thing to happen in 1951. But the cells extracted from Ms. Lacks were not normal. They had unique qualities that made them valuable for research.

Labeled HeLa, the cells were subsequently reproduced by billions over the following six decades and have been vital in experiments across a wide range of biological science. Today, these cells are sold at impressive prices. Yet, Henrietta’s family has not been compensated a single penny from work that has been achieved by their relative’s unique cells.

Rebecca Skloot, a distinguished science writer with articles featured in many major outlets, spends all her life investigating the genesis of these cells.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is divided into four stories. The first story is a tale of HeLa cells and their contribution to science. The second story is about the life of the most important cell donor in the world’s history and that of her family. The third examines the ethics of cell donation and the legal and commercial significance of rights involved while the fourth story examines Skloot’s pursuit of all the tales. Each story here is important.

The contribution of HeLa cells been significant and it’s important to get an understanding of how these cells came to be so widely used and the characteristics that make them so valuable. The author gives a rich level of detail for the readers who do not make a living in a lab coat. She also adds more information on how the cell cultures have been contaminated and the impacts on completed research. The author also offers a vivid description of telomeres, strings of DNA that’s critical to longevity, and the key to the immortality of HeLa cells.

The author constructs a well-detailed biography of Henrietta and patches together a portrait of her family, from her forefathers to her children, siblings, and other close relations. It’s with a source of pride and other emotions that Henrietta’s family regards her concerning her impact on the world. The author delves into these emotions and the experience the Henrietta family members have had over the years with people trying to write about Henrietta, and other people working to exploit her interest in Henrietta for their evil purposes.

Rebecca Skloot had to overcome huge family opposition before she was able to meet them and get them to open up to her. She takes the reader step by step through her process, showing who she approached, when and the results of her conversations, what institutions she contacted locating and gaining access to info about Henrietta and some family members.

Most fascinating and at times frustrating, is her story on how she gained the trust of some family members. The story flows like a how-to of her research process, a detailed description of the way the research is done in the real world and it’s quite fascinating.

The Immortal Tale of Henrietta Lacks has received positive critics it all well deserved. The story is an eye-opener into a piece of our history that’s mostly unknown. The book presents science in a manageable way and gives the reader plenty to think about the next time we have any medical procedures be it a simple blood test. This book maybe not as immortal as Ms. Lacks cells, but it will stay with you for a long time.

According to Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks took more than ten years to research and write. Upon publication the book instantly hit New York Times bestseller list where it remained for more than seven years. Rebecca has been featured in several television shows, including The Colbert Report, CBS Sunday Morning, and others, and was named as one of the Five Leaders of 2010 by The Washington Post. Her book was subsequently chosen as the best book of 2010 by over 60 media outlets, including The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, National Public Radio, and Entertainment Weekly.

Additionally, the book was named as one of the best 100 books to read in a Lifetime and Best book of 2010 by Amazon.com. It has been translated into over 25 languages, won several awards including National Academy of Science Book Award, and received widespread critical acclaim with different reviews appearing in Science, The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and many others.

In the end, the book tries to answer questions such as would Henrietta have given her cells if she was fully informed? Would any of her decision have impacted her children’s future whatsoever?

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