Clover and Lacks Town, where Henrietta Lacks grew up, represent a bygone era for Rebecca Skloot. She sees both the idyllic, pre-industrial side, as well as the deep racial divides that lie underneath its surface. Rebecca also notes the extreme poverty in which its residents—especially African Americans—live. At the same time Deborah Lacks thinks of Clover as her favorite place on earth, because she associates it with her mother (and indeed, Clover is where Henrietta is buried in an unmarked grave). At the end of the book, Rebecca returns to Clover to find that it has disappeared entirely, a victim of an economic downturn and of racist and classist financial policies. Once learning that Deborah has died, Rebecca remembers that Deborah hoped that Heaven would look like Clover, and that she would see her mother and sister there. Thus in the end, despite its flaws, Clover becomes a symbol of the life that Deborah never got to have with her mother and her sister.
Clover and Lacks Town Quotes in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The white Lackses know their kin all buried in here with ours cause they family. They know it, but they’ll never admit it. They just say, “Them Black Lackses, they ain’t kin!”
Take one of me and my sister by her and my mother grave…It’ll be the only picture in the world with the three of us almost together.
Heaven looks just like Clover, Virginia. My mother and I always loved it down there more than anywhere else in the world.