Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

This book is the story of Lia Ling, a Hmong child from a Laotian refugee family. Lia was diagnosed as having severe epilepsy (the title comes from the translation of her disease). Her family and her medical team struggled to over come the culture clash between them in order to treat her condition, but without much success. Factors such as difficulty finding translators (the Hmong people have not integrated as fully as many other groups), the fact in Hmong culture western medicine has been embraced for short time fixes such as antibiotics, but not for long term conditions (so her parents don't understand why she needs her medication forever), and mistrust on both sides ultimately result in heartbreak. The book is a great cultural study of both our culture and the Hmong and raises the question of how so many well intentioned people could have gone so wrong.

No comments: