Maria M. Elmvang's Reviews > 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 by Anne Fadiman
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Feb 20, 11

bookshelves: 2-stars, 2011, non-fiction, not-owned
Recommended for: people interested in Hmong culture
Read from January 28 to February 20, 2011, read count: 1

I do feel a bit bad giving the book such a low rating, but am afraid that to me it was just 'OK'. I can easily see its appeal if you're interested in medicine or the Hmong culture, or want to read up on the consequences of cultural clashes and possible ways to circumvent that. But as neither of those were the case for me, what remained was a long and dry book that was vaguely interesting at times, and rather boring and hard to get through at others. I forced myself to finish it, as it seemed like one of those books you "ought" to read, but at 288 pages, it took me almost a month to get through.

I had it recommended to me because I enjoyed "Ex-Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader" also by Anne Fadiman, but after reading it, I have to admit that I don't understand the recommendation. The only things the two books have in common are that they were written by the same author and they're both non-fiction. Otherwise they're as different as they could be. And unfortunately - based solely on its literary merit - this one is by far the inferior.

If you want to know more about Lia since then, there's an interview with Anne Fadiman here.
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