Book Special Features


Photos

Below you will find a slide show of bonus photos related to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks not included in the book’s photo insert. See the book for other photos, and check back on this page—more slide shows coming soon.



Audio

Listen to the Radiolab piece on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which includes audio footage from Rebecca Skloot’s research tapes. Hear the voice of George Gey and other central characters, and listen to key scenes from the book: Deborah seeing her mother’s cells for the first time, Gary Lacks’s faith healing, and more.

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Video

Watch a trailer of The Immortal Book Tour, in which Rebecca Skloot talks about her book and the Lacks family joins her in public appearances discussing the legacy of Henrietta Lacks, their feelings about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and more.

Rebecca Skloot discusses a key (if unorthodox) moment in her book reporting process that helped her win Deborah Lacks’s trust. Hint: It involves being bitten by dozens of ticks and bathing in salad dressing.


See archival footage of HeLa cells growing in a laboratory in the ’50s.

HeLa Cells Dividing (with on-screen captions from the scientist who created this YouTube video): HeLa cells dividing over 27 hours. Cells round up, grow hair, and then divide.


Rebecca Skloot wrote The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks using a braided story structure that jumps around between multiple time periods and multiple narratives. In the video below, Skloot explains how she worked out the book’s structure with the help of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Hurricane, the film about Hurricane Carter the boxer.


For more videos in which Rebecca Skloot discusses her writing and researching process (including telling several stories about her time with Deborah Lacks that didn’t end up in the book), how she came up with the braided structure for her book, how she writes about science so it’s understandable to a wide general audience, and much more, visit the Writing Resources page of this site.

You can also watch the BBC documentary, The Way of All Flesh, which Skloot discusses in several chapters of her book. (Link opens to new window.)



Additional Resources

Please visit the Teaching page of this site for more resources related to The Immortal Life, including a timeline and cast of characters, discussions with Rebecca Skloot, additional photos and video footage, and more. For book groups interested in discussion guides and other book group related resources, please visit the Reading Groups page of this site.

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The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.