The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an incredible read! A clash of Western medicine with Hmong culture, exasperated by a lack of translators, cultural understanding, and education on both sides. Anne Fadiman shows how the situation involving one very sick child went wrong and makes suggestions as to more effective ways to communicate and provide care. I really enjoyed learning about the Hmong family in particular, and their own methods of parenting and treating the sick. The author suggests that millenia of Hmong people refusing to be assimilated effects the challenges facing Hmong refugees in their new environments, so she covers quite a bit of Hmong history, particularly in Laos, and how that intersects with American history thanks to "The Secret War." This is going to be a great book club discussion!
The edition I read had a new afterword by the author providing some updates and discussion of the impact of the book. She also talks about how it would have been impossible to write now, at least not in the same way.
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