Monday, July 10, 2006

NonFiction - The Spirit Catches You & You Fall Down

This particular title by Anne Fadiman had been sitting on my to be read pile for quite sometime. This stiring story of a Hmong family living in California helps to bring into light how different cultures view and solve problems. In this paticular case a infant suffers from eplipsy and is taken to a local hospital in Merced California for treatment. Both the family and the hospital want what is best for the child but what each views as the "best" is very different. Anne goes into great detail about the history of the Hmong peoples (from Laos) and the hardships they have suffered, which from an American standpoint is almost inconceivable, especially during the time of the Vietnam war. This book certainly makes you feel for and think about the unfortunate and gruesome aspects of war and how civilians and poor people can become caught in the middle. The book reminds of us the importance of heritage and culture and the importance of respecting different peoples. Unfortunately there is not a "happy" ending to the story but it certainly does make you think. Anne also does an exceptional job of not taking sides as she tells us the story, rather she presents her ideas and thoughts in such a way that it makes the reader decide, which is probably why it was a winner of the National Book Critics Cricle Award. If you are interested in learning about different cultures here in America I highly recommend this title.

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