Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. People like Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Edison, Nancy Astor, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hilary and Neil Armstrong—their unparalleled success has made their stories into legend. But what if one man had such a dream, and once he’d achieved it, there was no proof that he had fulfilled his ambition?
I remember the first time I watched Memoirs of a Gheisha close to 14 years ago. And the second time. And the third time. And the fascination I’ve developed for anything Japanese. Kimonos, tea ceremony, hair styles, even those silly flip flops.
So you’re probably wondering – if I liked it this much, how come I didn’t read the book? Isn’t the book supposed to be way better than the movie adaptation? That’s why. I liked the movies so much that I thought by reading the book, somehow, the experience I’ve had would be diminished, tarnished. But then I thought – what if it glows even better now that I have the full story?
So I’ve read the Memoirs.
This is the first non-fiction I have read (or more like listened to) in a while and while I loved the book, there were definitely some flaws with it too (probably stemming from the author’s way of writing).
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. Tumor cells taken from her were used without her consent to produce a research cell line that has been kept alive in labs around the world ever since.
What the book is about
The book tries to be about the life and death and the cells of Henrietta Lacks – but it ends up being about many other things as well. About cell research, about black exploitation in medical trials in 1950’s America, about the crude treatment methods available at that time for cervical cancer, about the money machine that is tissue and organ trading, and last but not least, about the author’s journey in discovering who Henrietta Lacks was.
Excerpt from Servant of the Bones, 1996
” ‘All right. Now this is what I know. Don’t ever forget it.
As long you hate, and you roast in a hell of anger, there will be a limit to what you can do. You will be at the mercy of other spirits now and men and magicians. Anger is a confusing force, and hatred is blinding. So. You cripple yourself with this, you see, and that is why I would like to discipline it out of you, but that can’t be done. ”
‘But here are the lessons. Accept what your hatred and anger will allow you to accept. First and foremost, there is one God, and his name does not matter. Yahweh, Ahuramazda, Zeus, Aten, it does not matter at all. How he is worshipped, how he is served, by what ritual, it doesn’t matter at all. ”
“The people in the chaos cannot learn. They cannot understand what they are doing to the sea and the sky and the plants and the animals. They cannot understand that they are killing them, and that they will end by killing themselves. And there are so many of them, and each one of them is doing part of the killing, whether they know it or not. ”
― Margaret Atwood,
From the visionary Sci-Fi writer that brought us Oryx and Crake and “The Year of the Flood” (which I have not read yet), comes the end of the trilogy of Snowman and the Crakers and the end of the era of Humanity and the new beginning.
The future has never looked so bleak.
Sometimes you have to be a high riding bitch to survive, sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang on to
Delores Claiborne, a cranky old maid for a rich lady, tells the story of her life – from the “accidental” murder of her husband and how he got to inherit millions from her mistress after her “accidental” death. Highly recommended, but if you are expecting a horror story from the horror master, you will be disappointed.