Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

October 2, 2019 | Nina

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Come join us for our first Biographies! Book Club on October 4th from 2 to 3:30 pm in the Discussion Room on the 3rd floor of the Toronto Reference Library for a discussion of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Immortal life of henrietta lacks

Whether it is a movie, television show, or a book, I usually look for unique and dynamic characters that really move the story along. I appreciate the perspective that I gain from these characters’ experience and how it impacts the events around them. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can be a truly remarkable way to gain a sense of who you are through the individuals that you read about or watch on screen.

For our first Biographies! Book Club title, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, we learn about Henrietta Lacks, whose cells have been a central part of medical advances for decades since her passing from cervical cancer in 1951. Her cells have long been used to develop new procedures like cloning, vitro fertilization and gene mapping. It has also been used to develop new treatments for herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia and Parkinson’s disease. Her cells also played a part in creating a vaccine for polio!

Though Henrietta has long passed when this book was written, we also learn about the process that the author Rebecca Skloot has undertaken to bring Henrietta’s story to light. As we follow Skloot’s discovery about Henrietta and her family, we also begin to gain a sense of about who Henrietta was and how she continues to play a part not only with regards to medical advances but also the discussion of ethics of medical research and consent.

For upcoming Biographies! Book Club titles please see below:

Archeology from space Friday November 4: Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past by Sarah Parcak

UnbrokenFriday December 13: Unbroken by Sarah Hillenbrand