When people ask — and seems like people always be askin to where I can’t never get away from it — I say, Yeah, that’s right, my mother name was Henrietta Lacks, she died in 1951, John Hopkin took her cells and them cells are still livin today, still multiplyin, still growin and spreadin if you don’t keep em frozen. Science calls her HeLa and she’s all over the world in medical facilities, in all the computers and the Internet everywhere…
…But I always have thought it was strange, if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can’t afford to see no doctors? Don’t make no sense. People got rich off my mother without us even knowin about them takin her cells, now we don’t get a dime. I used to get so mad about that to where it made me sick and I had to take pills. But I don’t got it in me no more to fight. I just want to know who my mother was.
And that, my friends, is how you begin a book.
It’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Go to your local brick and mortar store and buy it today. In fact, don’t just buy it; ask your bookseller about it and then stand back with big grin on your face, in anticipation of how much you’re going to enjoy reading this book, while he or she raves about the vibrant characters, the astute observations, the sensitive, though unsentimental narrative, raves as only a passionate, book-loving, independent booksellers can (the way mine did).