Take reading, I am a 100% fiction reader. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I am sure that non-fiction book is very well written and worth my time to read, but I had convinced myself I just couldn't get through.
And then came the current hit The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It really sounded fascinating: telling the story of the HeLa cells. Malignant cells collected in the 1950s that really shaped the course of modern medicine in ways the scientists never imagined. It also tells the story of who HeLa was: Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman who grew up in rural Virginia and later moved to Baltimore.
Sounded great...but it was NON FICTION.
Remember, I don't do that genre of books.
But, just as I nagged at my older son to try a new food, I too pushed myself to try a type of book that is typically not to my liking.
And guess what? I liked it. I really, really liked it.
I could relate so well to many parts of the story. My background as a nurse of course factored into it. But, I was also taken back to 1992, when my first job out of the Army was working at an inner city hospital in Baltimore Maryland. Who knows, maybe Henrietta's descendants passed through my clinic? Doubtful, but possible. I did my reserve training with an inner-city unit not far from the area that Henrietta's family still lived in. And the area that she grew up in? Not far from a job I "almost" took but decided rural Virginia was not the place for me.
I found myself reflecting on how much medicine has changed over 50 years. Not just how we treat illnesses, but how we treat the patient. Henrietta was treated in a fashion consistent with the time and era. But, if we treated her and her family in such a fashion today? Yeah, get ready to meet with the legal department and expect to lose your license.
Am I ready to convert to reading more non-fiction? Probably not...but this one really was a worthy read.
I found the history part of the story to be fascinating. Rich in detail: not just about leprosy but about the state of Hawaii before it became a state, the cultural and religious practices of its' people. Stuff I never knew. I would say that was the author's primary interest: sharing history as I sometimes felt the character development was slapped together and plot was stretched so that he could include another plausible historical event.
Regardless, it made for an interesting read and again, would make for a very interesting book club discussion.
It also left me wanting to pack my bags and head off to Hawaii...which I suppose makes this a potentially expensive book to read.
So those have been my two favorites of the summer. I've also found myself afflicted by this disease caused Netflix-itisis...you know you can watch entire seasons of certain shows? Yeah, not so good....I've found myself hooked on Drop Dead Diva and the darker lawyer show Guardian. Both have become huge time drains...but with the recent heat wave, one doesn't feel like doing much more than hibernating inside, away from the hot dry summer sun.
Until next time....