by Erin K. | | 2 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 4 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Were you able to finish the book this week? Did it end like you thought it would? I was really surprised to find out that Deborah passed away before the book was published. I thought that was really sad because she was the one who wanted so desperately to know about her mother. At least she was able to be around while Rebecca Skloot was investigating. Hopefully, she was able to get a little closure after hearing all of Skloot’s findings.

The saddest part of this section for me was the part where we learned more about Elsie’s stay at the mental hospital. Reading the description of Elsie’s picture in her medical records broke my heart. She was obviously unhappy and didn’t seem to be very well taken care of. I couldn’t believe that Deborah took the picture and showed it to everyone she knew. I guess she was just so happy to have some answers that she didn’t really take in the severity of the photo. Weren’t you shocked that they were able to actually find her medical records since so many others were lost?

The section where Deborah and Zakariyya finally get to see their mother’s cells in the lab was really cool. I was so glad that they were able to have a positive experience with a scientist. He was so patient to explain everything, and he explained everything in terms that they could understand. It was also really neat that they were able to examine her cells under a microscope.

Finally, weren’t you angry to read about Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield, the man who claimed to be a distant relative, but who ended up being a fraud who wanted money from the family? The whole scenario seemed like something from a movie. He made the family so scared of outsiders that they almost ignored Skloot. Do you think the family made the right call letting Skloot into their lives? Was she a good person to trust?

The end of the book gives us an update about many of the people in the story. Since the book was published several years ago, however, the family has continued to change. This interview for NBC Nightly News gives a more recent update, with information about how the family is working to continue Henrietta’s legacy. It was also wonderful to see that Skloot still has contact with the family.

I hope you enjoyed the book club selection this month. I think this was a really interesting story about a really important woman, and I hope you agree.

Make sure to join us next month as we read The Lost City of Z by David Grann. And, make sure to leave a comment to let me know what you thought about Henrietta Lacks!

2 Responses to “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Week 4”

  1. Carrol

    I really enjoyed this book. I was one of those people who didn’t know the name “Henrietta Lacks.” I am so glad I had a chance to learn her story this month.

    Thanks for the Oprah interview. It is certainly exciting to see all of the positive things that are happening in memory of Henrietta.

    I admired Skloot”s persistence to get this story told. I don’t know how she kept it all together when dealing with the family. Deborah was an emotional roller coaster, but Skloot was so patient with her.

    I am glad we learned about Elsie, but it really was heartbreaking.

    Thanks for a great read. I always appreciate the extra video clips you give us.

    • Erin K.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Carrol. I really enjoyed learning about Henrietta, and I’m glad you did, too.

      Skloot was so persistent. I don’t think I would have been able to keep it together when dealing with all of the drama from the family.

      I’m glad you took the time to watch the video clips! Thanks for interacting with all parts of the blog entries.

      I hope to hear from you again next month! Thanks for always reading along!


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