Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4
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(12)

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(5)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

A Must-Read for anybody in healthcare

As a physician myself, this book really hit close to home. It really was an eye-opener for everybody in the health care system as well as for anybody in the Western world to strive not to view the world in an ethnocentric manner. Most of the time, physicians have a 'tun...
As a physician myself, this book really hit close to home. It really was an eye-opener for everybody in the health care system as well as for anybody in the Western world to strive not to view the world in an ethnocentric manner. Most of the time, physicians have a 'tunnel vision' when interacting patients. Though oftentimes done without malice, it nevertheless disregards the patient as an individual with his/her own values and beliefs.This redefines medicine and focuses on it being an art rather than a science of treating patients as whole individual:body, mind and soul. Anne Fadiman succeeded in presenting the material not in an antagonistic way, by focusing on Lia and her family, and by providing a better understanding of the Hmong culture. I keep a copy in my office with the cover showing Lia's picture within easy view to serve as a reminder to me in my everyday interaction with patients.

posted by Anonymous on April 29, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Adequate writing, biased observations

While Fadiman¿s writing style is adequate and the book is easy to read, it only merits two circles. Fadiman¿s anti-American bias is evident throughout and her half-hearted attempts at objectivity are flaccid at best. Fadiman covers in detail what she feels is wrong with...
While Fadiman¿s writing style is adequate and the book is easy to read, it only merits two circles. Fadiman¿s anti-American bias is evident throughout and her half-hearted attempts at objectivity are flaccid at best. Fadiman covers in detail what she feels is wrong with the American doctors and their treatment of immigrants but the shortcomings of the Lees are mitigated. Lia¿s plight is sad, but blame can¿t be placed entirely on the American doctors and must be shared by the parents¿ inaction as well. Several of the doctors made valiant efforts to learn the idiosyncrasies of the Hmong culture in addition to their regular duties without compensation. Lia¿s parents¿ response lacks an equal spirit of cooperation by their steadfast refusal to learn more of the American culture and specifically American medicine. Regardless of how superior an immigrant feels his/her culture, or country of origin to be, it is incumbent upon the immigrant to learn the customs and language of the host culture. This is especially important where the health of a child is concerned and is illustrated by this book. Many counties in California offer free English classes for immigrants. Why didn¿t Lia¿s parents utilize this service? I would recommend this book as a cautionary tale to immigrants who fail to see the need of learning the language of their adopted country.

posted by Anonymous on May 11, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    The limits of cultural relativism

    If you side with this doctors in this story, youre not alone.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    Do not recommend

    This book is my Book Club's selection for September. I told them I would rather have pins stuck up my nail beds than try and finish this book. We usually read fiction so how this snuck in I don't know. I was not there when it was selected, because I would have voted against it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 9, 2011

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    Posted January 8, 2011

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    Posted June 12, 2012

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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    Posted June 12, 2010

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