I've been interested in Henrietta Lacks ever since my college days (late 70's) and learned about Hela cell cultures. At that time, I was told that the woman's name was Helen Lane - now I know why this misinformation was propagated!
This is an immensely interesting (to me!) topic, and while the author did a great job telling me what I wanted to know about the beginnings of the Hela line, she spent way WAY too much time telling me about her Henrietta's daughter was sexually abused by her step father or uncle or whoever that was. This sort of thing is just sensationalizing and is utterly useless and superfluous to the story. If I had been reading the actual paper book, I would have been able to skip over these parts. As it turns out, I listened to it on audio, so I was captive. I found this exceedingly irksome.
Towards the end of the book, there was a lot of information and commentary on the situation of mentally ill black folks in the 50's - this is a book unto itself, and honestly has nothing to do with the Hela story. I found this to be interesting, but out of place.
The upside is that some of the book was read by Aibileen! (From the audio version of The Help.) How I love this woman's voice, I can't even begin to tell. She read some of the parts of Deborah (Debra? Don't know, I listened, didn't see the name written out) Lacks, Henrietta's daughter.
Finally, the end material is enough to give us all pause. I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable and I had no earthly idea. It's worth the time to read the book just to gain this information.
On the whole, this book is very interesting and informative, but is wanting an editor. Worthwhile read, though.