Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Marianne Elliot
Review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Marianne ElliotHenrietta Lacks's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack is not a great book. It does have some very interesting essays and some really eye-opening research, but it doesn't have much in the way of real depth. I think that the most interesting ideas are lost in the translation into English.I'd read this book and have found other authors' versions before, so I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that this book was the latest (and supposedly last) on the subject of immortality and had made a few 'emergent' discoveries, which would form the basis of later works. It was a pretty interesting story about her research and experimenting on the afterlife, with somewhat predictable conclusions. Nevertheless, I do like the character of Henrietta, who still seems to exist in the author's mind as if we were still living in the eighteenth century.The book tells us that Henrietta has discovered that she has the ability to travel f rom one point in time to another. In order to do this, she will have to travel in time for several years. At first, she meets up with our eponymous Henrietta Lack and he reveals some of his research to her and they become friends.Henrietta is intrigued by him, since he has even, despite his position, managed to publish a book and continue a career. He still has the appearance of a gentleman. She writes some poems in praise of him, that she sings, and one of them is on its way to being published as an unpublished Henrietta Lack poem. The he has a rather destructive streak that is clearly shown in the book, as the more Henrietta mentions him, the more he grows from a friend to an enemy. He sees himself as an intellectual, and if it weren't for her, he would probably be known as an enemy, which is too bad, because he has good qualities, at least in his imagination.As the book goes on, Henrietta begins to realize the fact that the book is going to come out eventually, especially since t he husband has finally come forward to reveal his secret to her. And here comes the last big revelation that is the ending. Well, most of the revelations are actually kind of disappointing. However, the fact that she does know about the afterlife (her ability to time travel) is very interesting. We never discover anything about how Henrietta should act, except for the fact that she should try to do something as the novel finishes, and we all know that she shouldn't. Because she knows that it's not worth living if she can't make her husband happy.I am not sure what the solution is to all this. What if Henrietta believes that the husband is one of her past selves? Well, then what does that mean?That's the question that is left for me to ponder about Henrietta. If she goes ahead and dies, is there any hope for her?