Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January Book Discussion

I'm sorry I'm so late on getting this up. I was waiting until Aubrey's post was up so I could put part of it here and then I got sick = no bueno.

So here are some of her thoughts from this last month's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.


1. Did you like the book? Was it what you were expecting or hoping for? Why or why not? As I admitted before, I had pregamed this book a couple of years ago so I had a little idea of what I would be reading. However, what I didn’t realize was the two parallel story lines that would co-exist throughout the book. Overall, I appreciated the intertwining of the personal Lacks story with the scientific research and development so, yes, I did like the book. I found myself constantly thinking about how much I would love to use this book in my classroom, but my current school is too conservative for some of the content. The issues raised about medical ethics, healthcare, poverty, race, etc. would be fascinating to work through with high schoolers as many students are just starting to form their own opinions on such things at this stage of their lives and this book offers valuable insight into such a life-changing discovery that still affects us in so many ways today.
2. What did you think of the style of the book? Skloot wrote a nonfiction piece that read as a piece of narrative fiction. Did you like that? Why or why not? At this point in my life, I really appreciated the narrative tone of this book. I read so much academic nonfiction for my job and graduate school that I enjoyed getting lost in a book that read like fiction but was actually nonfiction. I just finished another book of the same style, Brain on Fire, and I highly recommend checking it out—I finished it in four days!
3. Of the two concurrent storylines in the book, did you find yourself favoring one over the other?Going into the book, I had no idea that the scientific research storyline even existed. Overall, I enjoyed the humanistic storyline of the Lacks more, but I really do appreciate the insight and development brought on by the more objective research. While I do not necessarily agree with the way Henrietta Lacks’ situation was handled, the research storyline helped me to see and understand how events were able to unfold as they did and why the doctors felt they were justified to act as they did. I found the Lacks family to be very deep and complex, even if they may not appear as such on the surface. Their issues of poverty and lacking education really gave life and reality to many issues Americans have faced in the past and some are still facing today, especially with the issues of Common Core and Obamacare at the forefront of our nation.

Head on over to her blog to check out her last 2 points of the story. And don't forget to join us in reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. We will have our discussion questions out during the last week of February and our group discussion will be here on Saturday, February 27! 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!


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