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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind opening experience
Prior to reading Fadiman's book, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the Hmong culture. One of my most treasured friends is Hmong - we met in college and Yer has always amazed me with her all American appearance and attitude that can be so totally overcome with her Hmong culture. Reading "The Spirit Catches You..." brought this world so much closer. While...
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmong American reader here
People who are not familiar with Hmong Americans may read this book and assume that all/most Hmong Americans are like the Lee family and other Hmong families presented in the book. The events that took place with the Lee family occured when Hmong first arrived here in the late 70s/early 80s. These days, the majority of Hmong Americans are a lot more Americanized...
Published on March 20 2004


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind opening experience, Jan. 15 2004
This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
Prior to reading Fadiman's book, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the Hmong culture. One of my most treasured friends is Hmong - we met in college and Yer has always amazed me with her all American appearance and attitude that can be so totally overcome with her Hmong culture. Reading "The Spirit Catches You..." brought this world so much closer. While it's very easy to read, and the story grabs you and pulls you in, it is also a crash course in Hmong culture and history. Unless you know someone who is Hmong, it's hard to understand how tangible their culture, language, history etc... is all tied together. Fadiman does a great job of tracing the tangled knot of many of these threads. You won't come away from this intriguing novel without feeling like your world view has just burst threw another layer of understanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing Read, June 14 2013
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This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
After this ethnography/narrative about Hmong living in LA, you will never think the same again about cross cultural perspectives on health and healing again. However readers will learn about and appreciate more than just medical variances across cultures. Complex questions surrounding rights of the body, what is a body, the power of history, power of myth, racism, parenthood, and even self comprehension are raised. With Anne Fadiman's strong narrative style these questions are masterfully managed and therefore the reader is never confused or overwhelmed. This is a must read for anyone considering a career in a medical profession wherein they might treat someone of a different culture.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Prejudice Isn't Evil, Only Ignorant, May 2 2004
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This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
I may be too optimistic, but I've grown to believe that bigotry isn't always practiced by bad people, but often by good people ignorant of cultures other than their own. This was certainly the situation in the case that Anne Fadiman writes about. People from two cultures, each believing they are correct, clash and a small child gets caught in the middle.
Prejudice begins to break down in the light of true communication. Unfortunately for this child, true communcation was too big of a hurdle to cross. Fortunately for the reader, we can learn from reading about this experience.
This book will touch your heart and open your mind. The lessons learned within its pages will stay with you. This book is worth purchasing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fascinating book!, Feb. 11 2004
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Rosemary Gwaltney (Idaho, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
While this book's main focus is a study of the differences between the Hmong culture, and American society, there is much about little Lia as well. Lia was born with a seizure disorder. Her family had a heartbreaking time, transplanting to the United States, and being expected to conform to an incomprehensible new culture, while trying to help their precious baby girl. My heart goes out to the Lee family. I found this deep and complex book fascinating. I've read it four times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading!, May 12 2011
This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
One of the best books I have read. An amazing analysis of one little girls journey of illness and care, one family's amazing story, one community's struggles to adapt and sruvive and one hospital's efforts to save a patient. For anyone interested in cross-cultural learning, the medical system, immigration, global conflict, and generally how human beings can or can't communicate effectively with one another.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down, Nov. 21 2010
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Anita Punamiya "anita" (NB Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
Excellent book. A classic and a must for those working in the Healthcare field. Gives insights into cultural issues which influence the care experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The need for empathy, May 30 2004
This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
As a student looking to go to medical school, I found this book to be an eye opening experience. It really points out the need for empathy for other cultures, languages and religions in the medical establishment. Although I know I am more open minded than most pre-med students, I think that anyone who reads this book can develop an appreciation for culture and religion as it relates to health and healing. It is a great read and I recommend it for all pre-med students.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmong American reader here, March 20 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
People who are not familiar with Hmong Americans may read this book and assume that all/most Hmong Americans are like the Lee family and other Hmong families presented in the book. The events that took place with the Lee family occured when Hmong first arrived here in the late 70s/early 80s. These days, the majority of Hmong Americans are a lot more Americanized compared to the early 1980s. Although the assimilation has been slow compared to other first generation Americans, things have changed a lot since then. For example, many Hmong no longer practice the traditional Hmong religion and have converted to Christianity. The Lee family was a lot more traditional than most Hmong American families in the early 80s. I just wanted to clear this up.
Having said that, I enjoyed this book because it does the impossible. Fadiman is able to make the reader better understand the traditional Hmong culture, a culture that seems irrational and is opposite of western culture. It doesn't mean that you will agree with the Hmong culture but you will better understand it, including why the family did/did not do certain things to help their daughter who had epilepsy. I also believe that this book is important for those who work with the public because it promotes sensitivity towards other cultures. The doctors and the family had the very best intentions for the daughter who had epilepsy but the cultural barriers were just too much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars eye-opening, March 18 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
This is such a beautifully-written, captivating, eye-opening book about a clash of two cultures: American and Hmong. It opens the reader's mind to be tolerant and understanding of other cultures, of other peoples. It is quite simply one of the most important books you can read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, Feb. 23 2004
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C. Davidson "maturereader" (Kirkland, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down (Paperback)
This book is a must read. It is thought provoking, educational and hard to describe. I kept wanting to place judgement on the doctors, then I wanted to place judgement on The Hmong families, when really there was no judgement to be placed. This book is about cultural issues that impacts many lives. I liked the fact that Anne Fadiman didn't seem to have an agenda, she told the facts as they happened and as she saw it, without her own prejudices. With so much prejudice in our society I think this book might help us each be a little more tolerant.
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Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down
Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (Paperback - Jan. 1 2000)
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