The One Read reading panel narrowed the list of more than 90 book suggestions for the 2011 One Read choice to two top contenders. Between now and April 29, cast your vote for either “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett or “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
In 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, Aibileen is a black maid raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt of losing her own son. Minny, her best friend, can't seem to hold her tongue when an employer mistreats her and has lost yet another job. The white Miss Skeeter is home after graduating from Ole Miss, struggling under her mother’s pressure to find a husband and determined to find out what happened to the maid who raised her. An aspiring writer with a growing sense of social justice, Skeeter begins interviewing Aibileen, Minny and other black maids with the hope of publishing their stories. These extraordinary women take great risks in crossing lines of race and class and forever change a town and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor and hope, Kathryn Stockett's “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by and the ones we don't.
- Author’s Website
- Publisher’s Page
- Publisher’s Reading Group Guide
- New York Times Review
- Washington Post Review
- NPR Interview
- Books & Authors Database
- Google Books
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more. Known as HeLa to scientists, Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. Author Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. This story of the Lacks family explores the collision of ethics, race and medicine and follows a daughter’s search for the mother she never knew.