On Wednesday of last week (April 18th), I had the opportunity to attend an interview with Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Concordia's book of the year. The interview was held in Duluth, hosted by the College of St. Scholastica. During the interview, Ms. Skloot was asked to read small sections from her book and provide more details of her experience working with the Lacks family. She told stories of how the Lacks' believed Henrietta's presence was a guiding force in the creation of the book. Ms. Skloot also described the process she went through to organize all her research into the format of a novel.
The interview connects to last semester's curriculum in Honors better than to this semester's because last semester Ms. Skloot's book was required reading. The interview connects to this semester's theme because writing this book was Ms. Skloot's calling. She felt the story of Henrietta Lacks needed to be told, and she dedicated ten years of her life to the project.
When I read Ms. Skloot's book over the summer, I struggled to understand the point of view of the Lacks family. As a biology major, I could not imagine being afraid of doctors, scientists, or even cells. During her interview, Ms. Skloot explained why the Lacks family was so fearful of learning about HeLa cells. Henrietta's daughter Deborah grew up hearing stories of children being taken from the streets and used for terrible experiments. Doctors and scientists did not take the time to explain the significance of the HeLa cells. By the time the interview was over, and I was returning home I felt like I finally understood the both sides of the story.