Rebecca Skloot is a science writer, and to sample the critical acclaim for her first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, you would conclude that her book is all science—that and bioethics and the not-insubstantial question, In the billion-dollar industry that is biomedical research, who owns our cells? With a subplot about race relations thrown in for human interest, Skloot artfully weaves together so many scientific threads and related historic ones (the Nuremberg trials! the polio epidemic! HIV/AIDS!) that it is possible to lose sight, as most reviewers did, of her extraordinary humanity, and that of the family—poor, black, scientifically illiterate, and remarkable for all that—at the center of her story. The media may care more about national health policy and scientific ethics, but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is also about lives transformed by the desire for, the search for, and the discovery of truth. That is why I, for one, would read it again. . . .
read all of Webster Bull’s review