The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures - Softcover
A study in the collision between Western medicine and the beliefs of a traditional culture focuses on a hospitalized child of Laotian immigrants, members of the Hmong tribe, whose belief that illness is a spiritual matter came into conflict with doctors' methods.
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Lia Lee was born in 1981 to a family of recent Hmong immigrants, and soon developed symptoms of epilepsy. By 1988 she was living at home but was brain dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding, overmedication, and culture clash: "What the doctors viewed as clinical efficiency the Hmong viewed as frosty arrogance." The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions, written with the deepest of human feeling. Sherwin Nuland said of the account, "There are no villains in Fadiman's tale, just as there are no heroes. People are presented as she saw them, in their humility and their frailty--and their nobility."
About the Author:
Anne Fadiman is the editor of The American Scholar and the author of two books of nonfiction, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. Her essays and articles have appeared in Harpers Magazine, The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications.
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- PublisherFarrar Straus & Giroux
- Publication date1998
- ISBN 10 0374975809
- ISBN 13 9780374975807
- Number of pages352