Law Life

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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Hey everyone!

First I want to give a birthday shout out – Happy Birthday to Allie!!! She’s my awesome cousin who moved here to Chicago and is training for Chicago with me. She’s run several marathons before so I’m constantly sending her e-mails with questions! Thanks Allie and have a great birthday!

  
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So first day of law school was fine… haha I only had one class so it wasn’t bad. It was just so weird to be back, I never made a ton of friends at the school so I didn’t have many people I was looking forward to running into… Hopefully I’ll make a few friends in my classes this year. It’s so hard at this age though because we’re in and out on our own schedules and most people have jobs, families, etc. We’ll see how it goes!

So Sunday, however, was an AWESOME day! I started off with my 12 mile long run. I honestly didn’t know how far I’d make it since my legs just felt exhausted all week, but once I got past the first two miles I really hit a groove and had a great time with the run!

I ended up taking part of my run all the way down Navy Pier, and when I turned around I saw this!

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Can you tell it was windy? Although the last two miles were tough, I finished off strong and really enjoyed the run! I ended right by a water fountain so I drank a ton of water (sorry everyone waiting behind me…) and stretched out in the park. 12 miles, done!

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Afterwards I went home, had some breakfast and a had a little time to rest and relax before it was time for book club! A few of us Chicago bloggers started up a book club from the facebook group and this month was hosted by Kelsey! Her apartment had a gorgeous view and she did a wonderful job setting out a spread for all of us! We all brought some food and I had brought granola and black berries to use as toppings for the yogurt Chobani sent!

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I really did have a great time. It was nice to meet some new bloggers, and to just sit there and talk about things with women who all have very similar interests! Oh, and we discussed the book for about 5 minutes…

For you all, however, I’ll do a quick review! The book we read this month was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (don’t worry, I laughed at her last name too).

The book describes the true story of both Henrietta Lacks, how her cells changed science and medicine, and how Rebecca came to learn of the real story behind Henrietta and her family. Henrietta began her life as a poor Southern tobacco farmer and moved to Balitmore with her husband and children. At only 30 years old she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and grew ill rather quickly, passing away and leaving behind her family. While she was at Johns Hopkins, a doctor took a sample of her cancer cells, which were used in testing to find cells that would survive in culture. Hers did while no others could. Her cells became famous, referred to as HeLa, and were used by scientists in medical breakthroughs for centuries because of their ability to survive and reproduce.

Rebecca, the author, hunts down Henrietta’s family and the book not only follows Henrietta and HeLa’s stories, but Rebecca’s story as she very slowly begins to earn the trust of Henrietta’s loved ones, and unravels their history, as well as helps them to make peace with the fact that Henrietta’s cells are not only helping science, but making billions of dollars while they can’t afford health insurance.

I really enjoyed reading this novel and, honestly, I would never have picked it out on my own! It just didn’t sound very interesting since when I read for pleasure I prefer fiction. This book was fascinating to me, however, because I have both a biology and legal background. I loved hearing about the cells and how they were used for research (nerd alert!).

Beyond that, however, I also was just captivated by the book! I really could not put it down, I was just waiting to see what happened next, in both the past story and the family’s current story. I loved that Rebecca would switch back and forth from the history of HeLa to her present with the family. Each character that she wrote about seemed so real (well, they were!) and I felt like I totally understood them and their personality. She had a great way of describing the scene so you felt like you were there.

All of us in the book club enjoyed reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (even those who didn’t understand the science parts!) so I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an interesting life story! I really should read more historical novels, it’s interesting to read and recognize things from your current life (ex: polio vaccine was created using HeLa!).

 

How do you like historical non-fiction or fiction?

 

Would you join a book club? What dish would you have brought?



 

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