February Books

February Books

Oh February you had some great books. I loved all 4 that I read. 2 murder mysteries, one science autobiography and one luxury autobiography. 10 books for the year read.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

How have I never heard of Henrietta Lacks? Without which much of modern medicine and vaccinations would not exist. It’s a haunting story with some dark undertones. From race and poverty to education levels. Henrietta had cervical cancer, without her express permission, scientists at John Hopkins University, took a biopsy of the cancer. This then became the iconic HELA cells. Used around the world in numerous of experiments. The scientists took advantage of Henrietta, making money for themselves. Following Henrietta’s death, an autopsy was done to take more samples. The Lacks family never fully understood what would happen to the cells. In years to come, they were taken advantage of countless time. From being exploited by the press and researchers. One case involved a researcher asking to take blood samples from Henrietta’s children. Without fully explaining what for. The Lacks believed it to be for testing of cancer explicitly, as opposed to what it turned into, further research for others. Through a lack of education, The Lacks would just nod and say yes, not wanting to say that they did not understand, as most of us would do as it is human nature.

The book is so relevant from a data perspective, well before the internet age of data privacy. Once cells have been received, who truly owns the right to the data? There was some lovely stories within the book and many good examples of the good nature of many. Definitely, Henrietta’s impact on society should be taught at schools.

Rating – 5*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaFJya7FVSM
 
Bringing Home the Birkin
Birkin handbags, infamous the world round. For many reasons, the price, the types from crocodile to leather and any animal in between, the coveted orange bag they come in to the apparent exclusive nature of getting such a bag. In Michael’s tell all book, he explains how he wound up in Barcelona becoming a Birkin bag dealer. Back when eBay was a new website and luxury e-commerce sites did not exist. Whether his formula for success of getting a bag is true or not, it does seem interesting being expected to show your worth in cash before being allowed a sniff at the bag. What is it about brands that feel they can do that? I’ve had a similar Pretty Woman-esque experience in a shop when looking to buy some designer shoes. Apparently my outfit of the day, wasn’t worthy of the staff helping me! Their loss was Harvey Nichol’s gain. 
Back to Birkins though and the House of Hermes. Michael also explains how moving to Barcelona felt like home. The quote below, I could definitely relate to.

Nothing convinces you so thoroughly that you truly belong to a place as when your heart beats faster at the thought of being back on its familiar ground once more. And on that day, when my plane touched down on the tarmac in my chosen city, mine was thumping like a jackrabbit’s. On an afternoon not long after, I was sorting through

Overall a fascinating insight into another world, full of orange boxes and plenty of OMG really moments.

Rating – 5*

The Rumour

The Rumour

The Rumour is so similar yet so different to Pieces of Her, which I read in January. A rather uncomfortable topic, but if a child kills another child, what rights should they have when they turn 18. Should they be given a new identity. Have they learnt the lesson? Is that fair on the victims family. Quite a heavy topic yet this book is a page turner. The essence is simple, Joanna Critchley moves back to her childhood home of Flinstead with her son Alife. To be closer to her Mum and have a quieter pace of life. She mentions that the infamous child killer, Sally McGowan may now be living amongst them. Watching the rumour grow arms and legs, really makes you think about actions and consequences. Full of twists and turn, a must read.

Rating – 5* 

The Woman Inside

The Woman Inside

Wow. This book came highly recommended and let’s just say I will also be recommending it. A really good murder thriller mystery, a proper page turner. Rebecca and Paul’s twenty year marriage is not as it seems. Plenty of lies and hiding the lies but also trying to keep up with the lies they have all created. Rebecca is not the most trustworthy of characters down to her prescription drug habit. Yet Paul comes across as a bit greasy and arrogant the stereotypical estate agent type. When Rebecca’s boss’ wife goes missing everything starts to change. Loved the social commentary on the stay at home mum types who spin and shop all day.

Rating  – 5*