Friday, April 2, 2010

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the differences between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilipsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia but lack of understanding between them led to tragedy.

The book begins with the traditional birthing methods and traditions of the Hmong people. One of the most important traditions is burying the placenta. The placenta is to be buried in a spot under the homes dirt floor so when the person dies its soul can travel back to the placenta. Lia was the fourteenth child born to the Lees'. She was their only child born in the United States. She was born in a modern hospital in California's Central Valley, where may Hmong refugees have resettled. Lia's placenta was incinerated.

This is a very interesting book, often on the required reading list of many schools. You will learn of Hmong traditions and how they conflict with American traditions. It shows how the differences are complicated because of the understanding of each others beliefs. The language barrier is a very big part of many of the problems encountered.

I like this book and consider it a very good read, especially if you want to learn something as you and are ready for some deep thinking. It is not a quick and easy book to read.

1 comment:

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