The Friends of the Library are pleased to announce this year’s selection for One Book, One Town 2020: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. This year’s event is being launched in conjunction with NJ Local Government Week, April 19-25, 2020.
No one could have predicted that the death of 31 year old Henrietta Lacks in 1951 would change the course of medical science. But the incredible story of Henrietta’s “immortal” cells–used in the development of vaccines for polio, certain cancers and sent into space to research the effect of zero gravity–is the substance of this book. It’s also the personal story of the Lacks family, who first learned of this research decades later.
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic we are experiencing now, the HeLa cell story examines the same issues we face today: the complicated relationships among race, health care and medical ethics.