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February Book Reviews: Love to Read

Love to Read!

By Gini Rainey

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – by Rebecca Skloot

In a New York Times bestseller, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family’s struggle with the power of science and medicine. Henrietta, better known as HeLa to the scientist, was an indigent recipient of state-of-the-art cancer treatment, for her cervical cancer. After HeLa’s death in 1951, her cells were taken from her and reproduced by the billions in labs – without her permission. These cells and replications were used over the years as vital tools for the development of the polio vaccine, cancer research, cloning, gene mapping, and much more.

Skloot faithfully records how the family of Henrietta Lacks, believes that Lacks was horribly exploited by the physicians/scientists whose training and skills were able to extract value from her excised tumor. And while Skloot succeeds in establishing that the family is terribly aggrieved, she fails to make sense of the high degree of distress they experienced.

With the medical advancements made by the “harvesting” of Henrietta Lacks, it is fitting to remember that the goal of her treatment was to save her life, not to harvest her cells for experimentation.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks –  Copyright 2011 – Broadway Books

Cover of Snow – by Jenny Milchman

Put on a sweater and snuggle up with your favorite hot drink because with the amount of snow flying in this novel, you won’t be able to put this book down. She sets her story in the fictitious village of Wedeskyull located in the Adirondacks Mountains, and tells a tale full of family and village secrets.

A definite page turner, Milchman does a superior job of character-building. You will be able to visualize everyone from the smarmy chief of police Vern, to the heroine Nora, and everyone in between. Beginning with the inexplicable suicide of Nora’s husband, Brendan, this book is an emotionally suspenseful roller coaster ride, right up to the last page.  

With plot twist after plot twist, romantic intrigue, and characters you both love and want to smack upside the head, you will find yourself not wanting to put this book down!

Cover of Snow – Copyright 2013 – Ballentine Books

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