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

by Fadiman, Anne A

  • ISBN: 9780374267810
  • ISBN10: 0374267812

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

by Fadiman, Anne A

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Publish date: 09/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780374267810
  • ISBN10: 0374267812
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Description: This guide is intended to enrich your experience of reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. This moving chronicle of a very sick girl, her refugee parents, and the doctors who struggled desperately to treat her becomes, in Anne Fadiman's deft narrative, at once a cautionary study of the limits of Western medicine and a parable for the modern immigrant experience.

Lia Lee was born in the San Joaquin valley in California to Hmong refugees. At the age of three months, she first showed signs of having what the Hmong know as qaug dab peg (the spirit catches you and you fall down), the condition known in the West as epilepsy. While her highly competent doctors saw the best treatment in a dizzying array of pills, her parents preferred a combination of Western medicine and folk remedies designed to coax her wandering soul back to her body. Over the next four years, profound cultural differences and linguistic miscommunication would exacerbate the rift between Lia's loving parents and her caring and well-intentioned doctors, eventually resulting in the loss of all her higher brain functions. Fadiman weaves this personal tragedy, a probing medical investigation, and a fascinating look at Hmong history and culture into a stunningly insightful, richly rewarding piece of modern reportage.

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