The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down A Hmong Child Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures Lia Lee was born in to a family of recent Hmong immigrants and soon developed symptoms of epilepsy By she was living at home but was brain dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding ove

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, over medication, 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 tragedyLia 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, over medication, 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.

  • Free Download The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures - by Anne Fadiman
    413 Anne Fadiman
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

  1. Anne Fadiman, the daughter of Annalee Whit Jacoby Fadiman, a screenwriter and foreign correspondent, and Clifton Fadiman, an essayist and critic, was born in New York City in 1953 She graduated in 1975 from Harvard College, where she began her writing career as the undergraduate columnist at Harvard Magazine For many years, she was a writer and columnist for Life, and later an Editor at Large at Civilization She has won National Magazine Awards for both Reporting 1987 and Essays 2003 , as well as a National Book Critics Circle Award for The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Ex Libris Confessions of a Common Reader, a collection of first person essays on books and reading, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1998 Fadiman was the editor of the intellectual and cultural quarterly The American Scholar from 1997 to 2004 She now holds the Francis chair in nonfiction writing at Yale Fadiman lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, the writer George Howe Colt, and their two childrencmillan author annefa

659 Reply to “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures”

  1. If nothing else can be said about this book, it should be said that it will cause a reaction Most books are a monologue The author is telling you something and you listen Anne Fadiman s book is so engaging, and touches on so many sensitive subjects, that it s like a dialogue between author and reader And I use the word dialogue literally During the course of this book, I found myself audibly voicing my opinions at the page like a crazy person My wife would ask me what I was saying, and I d tell [...]

  2. I knew a little about this case, and before I read the book, I was certain I d feel infuriated with the Hmong family and feel nothing but disrespect for them, and would side with the American side, even though I have my issues with the western medical establishment as well Not that I didn t feel angry and amused at times with both sides, but I also ended up empathizing with the people in both sides of this culture clash, which is a testament to Anne Fadiman s account of the events My culture is [...]

  3. This is the heartbreaking story of Lia, a Hmong girl with epilepsy in Merced It is intended to be an ethnography, describing two different cultural approaches to Lia s sickness her Hmong parents and her American doctors.Don t read any further unless you don t mind knowing the basic story told in this book there are no spoilers, since this is not a book with a surprise ending, but if you want to keep a completely open mind, stop now I have wavered between four and five stars for this one The book [...]

  4. A book like this one should be required reading for anyone who lives in a community of multicultural members, and nowadays that s probably just about everyone Sadly, and not surprisingly, those who would probably most benefit from a book like this would probably be the ones least likely to read it.It s an eye opener on cross cultural issues, especially those in the medical field, but also in the religious, as the Hmong don t distinguish between the two In understandable and compelling language, [...]

  5. This is one of the best books I ve read I guess it would be considered part of the medical anthropology genre, but it s so compelling that it sheds that very dry, nerdly sounding label This was recommended to me in a cultural literacy course and it certainly delivered The story is of the treatment of the epileptic child of a Hmong immigrant family in the American health system The issue is the clash of cultures and the confusing and heartbreaking results And the takeaway lesson is in how to cond [...]

  6. The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down may read like a documentary thanks to Fadiman s journalistic background , but it is really an introspection on the western system of medicine and science We cannot ourselves metaphorically stand back and try to look at the system from the outside However, comparing it to another supposedly antithetical system through the experiences of the Hmong refugees can be used as a tool to do just that The Hmong s presumed non separation of any of the dimensions of [...]

  7. There are so many valuable aspects to this book it s hard to decide what to mention Having just learned that Lia, the subject of the book, passed away within the last week I d like to express sheer admiration to her family, and especially her parents, for loving and caring for her for so many years Along with a large influx of Hmong, Lia lived in Merced, CA when she experienced her first seizures The Hmong and their language and their culture were yet virtually unknown and entirely misunderstood [...]

  8. Anne Fadiman addresses a number of difficult topics in her depiction of a Hmong couple s quest to restore the soul to their child While I consider myself a culturally sensitive individual, having been raised in a family of doctors and nurses, I have long held the conviction that the world s best doctors whether imported or native tread on American soil Reading Fadiman s account which sometimes includes actual excerpts from the patient s charts , I was forced to take a hard look at my assumptions [...]

  9. In Hmong culture they revere their children so much, it is wonderful This little girl was her parent s favorite and they believed her epilepsy was a special gift that made her in tune with the spirit world Many of the spirit healers in Hmong society have epilepsy.More largely, this is the story of a clash between western and eastern cultures, a communication lapse that ultimately ended up hurting the parents of this little girl very profoundly.

  10. i read this book for a class i am taking called human behavior and the social environment it tells the story of a Hmong family in california with a little girl who has epilepsy their experience as refugees who are illiterate and unable to speak english, traversing the american medical system ends up tragic however, the author is really good at giving voice to both sides, the western doctors impatient, overworked, stubborn, judgmental, dedicated and the Hmong family impatient, overworked, stubbor [...]

  11. An interesting story that highlights the many cultural differences between Americans and our immigrants in this case the Hmong culture Lia Lee is a Hmong child with severe epilepsy and the American doctors trying to treat her clash over her entire life with her parents, who are also trying to treat her condition Fadiman walks a fine line in describing the story fairly from both perspectives however, it s difficult, as an American, to not feel some anger toward this girl s family I learned of som [...]

  12. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the tragedy of Lia Lee, a Hmong child with epilepsy who eventually suffered severe brain damage, from a variety of perspectives One perspective is that of her family, who believed that epilepsy had a spiritual rather than a medical explanation, and who had both practical difficulty as illiterate, non English speaking immigrants to the U.S and general reluctance to comply with Lia s complicated medical regimen Another perspective is that of her do [...]

  13. Educational warning This book will teach you something important about non compliant patients.The title of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the literal translation of the Hmong words for epilepsy All doctors know about epilepsy virtually none know about the Hmong people They are an ethnic group who lived in China for hundreds of years.The Hmong have often been thought of as outsiders Over the centuries they have resisted taming by various domineering governments and oppressors When th [...]

  14. I never would have chosen this book to read on my own So I must thank Eliza for lending it to me I now feel like lending recommending a book proves friendship I didn t know anything about Hmong culture and now I do This book also taught me about the American medical system it looks strange when you step back It would have been a good book for me to read when I was in Japan, too, because it kind of opened me up to the idea that people of other cultures can really be sooo different It s not stupid [...]

  15. Fadiman wrote a fascinating and sympathetic story about a culture that couldn t be much farther removed from ours in the West It was especially interesting reading it right after Hitchen s God Is Not Great, because, theoretically, had there been no religion involved there wouldn t have been a real culture clash, and Lia could have grown up as an epileptic but functioning girl Maybe.But that s not really the point of Fadiman s book she doesn t condemn anyone, and, in fact, she points out that the [...]

  16. In graduate school comparative religion , I took a class called ritual, illness, and the body This book came out just a few years later Though we studied other fascinating examples of medical anthropology looking at Western, especially American, practices, it would have been wonderful to be able to use this text Though doctors today often take courses in cross cultural awareness in med school, it s still just a small portion of their training, if they get it all This book is highly relevant a c [...]

  17. Amazing book In my work with people with developmental disabilities and epilepsy, I ve seen a lot of examples of the disconnect between doctor and patient and that s even when both speak a common language and have a common cultural understanding of their roles This book tells the story of an extreme example, in which the patient s parents neither understood the doctors nor trusted them, and the medical system held a reciprocal inability to understand where the family was coming from In telling t [...]

  18. So close and yet so far.Fadiman sets up an epistemological encounters between US doctors and Hmong culture The life of a young woman is at stake.The book is well written, well researched, and Fadiman s heart seems to be in the right place The book fails however Ultimately, as hard as she tries, Fadiman cannot overcome her biases That would be less of a problem if she did not want to come across as objective A touch of theory and a bit of world history might have been enough to take Fadiman from [...]

  19. Is it terrible that I found myself sympathizing with the doctors and that the family was getting in the way of treating their childs illness

  20. A little Hmong girl slammed the front door once and her three month old sister had what the medical community call an epileptic seizure The Hmong family referred to it as quag dab peg which translates to the spirit catches you and you fall down It was the beginning of a long series of similar seizures, and the beginning of a long series of difficulties between the Hmong and American cultures.Lia Lee and her family were refugees living in Merced, CA when the spirit first caught Lia in this way Li [...]

  21. Having now finished the book, I know Lia s fate You must read the book to find out No spoilers here It is important to note that this book should be read by those not only interested in anthropology and how medical practices could should be improved, but also those wanting to learn about the Silent War in Laos So many have been written about the war in Vietnam and so few about that in Laos.How do you teach doctors to feel empathy and love for their patients Physical contact is one quick trick A [...]

  22. The parents of one small boy emptied his intravenous bottle refilling it with a green slime of undetermined ingredients herbal home brew made by the Hmong parents for ages Hmong patients made a lot of noise in the hospital which annoyed their American counterparts They sometimes wanted to slaughter animals in the parking lot or hospital room of a sick relative One resident recalls they would bang the crap out of some musical instrument while visiting sick relations and the American patients clos [...]

  23. Christ, what a ride I thought this book would be dry and unreadable I had to read this for my Cultures Madness class and write a book report that I still haven t done While there are times that it can be dense, it is very well written Ms Fadiman writes about the Hmong with incredible gravitas and emotionality I don t know how she did it but, by the time I finished the book I was all teary Sure, it could be that I haven t slept in days finals but I think it s because of how the story of this litt [...]

  24. Nowadays, if you use the term cultural competency in progressive medical education circles you are often met with open contempt I never fully understood why that was until reading this book How could one, even after a lifetime of research, ever hope to fully understand to become competent in a culture that is not their own If I was Lia Lee s physician, even at my most empathic, I would have no clue how to begin reconciling the Hmong view of disease with my own I guess one can only hope that if e [...]

  25. Just as relevant to a white teacher in the South Bronx in 2018 as to a resident at Merced Community Medical Center in 1986.

  26. Anne Fadiman does a good job of laying out some of the complexities of the case of Lia Lee from the various viewpoints of her doctors, family, social workers, and other caretakers However, reviews had me expecting something of an exploration of cross cultural medicine, or medical ethnography, and the turn in the later half of the book threw me in for a bit of a loop.I appreciated that Fadiman really got into explaining Hmong culture and beliefs towards medicine and disease the title refers to t [...]

  27. My dad told me to read this book 2 years ago but I never mange to read it I happened to read it exactly a week after my cousin died with epilepsy The main character in the book, Lia, also have several epilepsy which lead her to vegetable stage Both Lai and my cousin was born on the same year too Before I read the book, I don t knowWho Hmongs are though they live next to my country The author beautifully wrote between the medical perspective and culture perspective For Neil and Peggy, Lia was not [...]

  28. Subtitle A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two CulturesThe 150,000 Hmong refugees who came to the United States in the late 1970s arrived in a country and culture that could not have been foreign to them The Lee family had escaped their native village in the hills of Laos and settled in Merced California In July 1982 Foua Yang gave birth to her fourteenth child Foua and her husband Nao Kao Lee would name the little girl Lia She was a loved child, tenderly cared for and p [...]

  29. I may sound naive, but I will admit that I was shocked at just how ignorantly a bunch of educated doctors could treat a group of Asian immigrants to this country In credible And I am very glad to see that someone took the time to document this, as a very needed corrective not only for this particular group fo Laotian immigrants, but also on behalf of all of us who are misunderstood by the establishment, and even by members of our own In groups themselves.

  30. This book made me weep and sob I felt for those poor people the parents, the doctors, etc Thought the general background provided on the Hmong was good and added to the story significantly I read it in two days I couldn t put it down Highly recommend it to anyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *