Henrietta Lacks cover

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a book that you cannot put down in a hurry.
The story of injustice to one woman, the struggle and devastating effects of her illness
The amazing legacy that her cell line, HeLa, has meant for the world is told in such a way that -although a little technical at times – left me in awe and in tears at this incredible true story.
In my opinion a must-read.


I was so taken by the book that I wrote to the author:

“Dear Rebecca,
I don’t often do this sort of thing….contact an author that is, but….

After receiving Chemotherapy last year along with other maintenance drugs I read an article
on HeLa, consequently borrowing your book from my local Cancer support group “The Living Tree” in Bridport Dorset UK.

I have seldom picked up a book like this which has left me so enthralled that I hardly put it down until I read it all.

I read the conversations you had with The Lacks’ Family and ” heard ” them in my head with the feeling I was there listening into them with you.
An amazing, truly awe inspiring, very sad story which made me cry in the end.

I just wanted to say a huge ” Thank You” for bringing to the world the name Henrietta Lacks, the amazing immortality and contribution that she is making to the world of science and the injustice of it all.
This book and the story you have told will stay with me for the rest of my life.

What a tribute to a woman unknown and a family so unfairly treated.
But for her, I and millions of others would not be here!

Congratulations, you should be and hopefully are proud of this achievement.

With the Deepest Respect for her and her family and with the greatest thanks to You.

The author’s reply:

From: Rebecca Skloot <rebecca@rebeccaskloot.com>
Date: 11 April 2016 22:13:07 BST
To: Sherry
Subject: Re: Henrietta Lacks

Hi Sherry,

Thanks so much for the kind words, and for taking the story of The Immortal Life so deeply to heart.  I’m thrilled to hear that you loved the book.  In case you haven’t seen it, my website has a lot of special features related to the story, like videos and extra photos that weren’t included in the book.  You can find all of that (and much more) online here:  http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life/reading-group/.

If you haven’t done so yet, I recommend listening to the Radiolab segment I link to on that page — in it you can hear some of the original audio recordings I did during my interviews with Deborah, so you can hear her talking, you can listen to her cousin Gary singing, you can hear Christoph showing Deborah her mother’s cells for the first time.  It adds a whole new dimension to the story when you can hear  those scenes, and Deborah’s voice, first hand.

Best wishes,