Our critics discuss Rebecca Skloot's book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

What women really think about news, politics, and culture.
June 18 2010 1:09 PM

DoubleX Audio Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Our critics discuss Rebecca Skloot's book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

To listen to the DoubleX Audio Book Club discussion of Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, click the arrow on the player below.

You can also download the audio file here or subscribe to the DoubleX podcast feed via iTunes or directly with our RSS Feed.

This week, the DoubleX Audio Book Club discusses The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which tells the amazing story of a Baltimore woman who died of cancer, but whose cells—which seemed to have some magical power to multiply—were used to power a host of medical advances. In the meantime, author Rebecca Skloot finds out, her own children do not have health insurance and barely understand what an amazing contribution their mother's cells have made.


DoubleX co-editor Hanna Rosin praises this book as a model work of nonfiction. Her fellow editor Emily Bazelon puzzles over whether people should have any right to be compensated when their cells are used in the service of science. New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot is moved by the final scene, in which Skloot takes the family into the lab to see their mother's cells under a microscope.

DoubleX podcasts appear every other Thursday. Become a fan of the DoubleXGabfest on Facebook.

Margaret Talbot is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.

Emily Bazelon was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.