I simply could not put down this fascinating book. Henrietta Lacks was a poor African-American woman “treated” at John Hopkins Hospital for cervical cancer in the early 1950’s. Samples of her cells were taken without her knowledge and became the first human cells to not only stay alive in a lab environment, but to duplicate as well. Simply known as the HeLa line to many scientists, these cells became an integral part of research on cloning, gene mapping, and on developing the polio vaccine.
The book is part scientific tome and part biography of Henrietta and her family members, who were driven by their desire for answers and recognition for the role that Henrietta’s cells played in major scientific discoveries.