- What did you think about reading?
After part one of the book, I was insanely curious about two things. The first was how Henrietta’s family would deal with her death. The second was how her cells would be used. I was not disappointed. Rebecca Skloot manages to wonderfully divide part two with both the personal and scientific side of the amazing HeLa story. It answered my two main questions but brought up so many more. Overall, Henrietta and her immortal cell line were part of a story that stretches over decades and spans the globe.
- What did you learn?
Part two really informed me on how medical consent and patient knowledge really wasn’t enforced. For example, a virologist named Chester Southam injected HeLa cells into women with leukemia to see how it would affect them. However, the women were only told he was testing their immune system. He also injected prisoners with the cells to see how it would affect healthy individuals. Also, part two brought up more social stigmas. In Lacks town, there are both white and black Lacks living on the same land. However, they don’t seem to interact or even know much about the others. In addition, Skloot talks about how Henrietta’s children grew up and how they were affected by their mother’s death.
- What questions do you still have?
Part two opens up a whole river of questions. How did Henrietta’s children act in their adult life? What were HeLa cells used for? How did her family find out? What was their reaction?