Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier
- By: Fred Kavalier
For a few people genetic testing is a life changing experience. Masha Gessen is one of these people. The basic storyline of her book, Blood Matters, is simple. She is a journalist of Russian Jewish descent. Her family has a strong history of cancer. Her mother died from breast cancer at the age of 49, and her mother's aunt had ovarian cancer.
Gessen left home at the age of 15. Her relationship with her mother was not good: “There was no tragic fight, no horrible misunderstanding. For as long as I can remember, we simply felt like strangers.”
But her mother, who was a writer and translator, was proud of her daughter. When Masha started out in her career as a professional journalist her mother believed that she had passed something down to her. “My genes have won out,” she announced proudly.
In 2004—12 years after her mother's death—Gessen learnt