This is one of my favorite non-fiction books “that reads like fiction”. When Lia Lee, the 13th child in a family of Hmong refugees who had settled in Merced, was three months old, she was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. The series of events that cascaded from this diagnosis illustrate the potential thorniness of cross cultural interactions. Everyone wanted the best for Lia – especially her devoted parents and the dedicated doctors and staff at the hospital where she was repeatedly treated.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award
“Superb, informal cultural anthropology–eye-opening, readable, utterly engaging.” ―Carole Horn, The Washington Post Book World
“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down changed how doctors see themselves and how they see their patients. Anne Fadiman celebrates the complexity and the individuality of the human interactions that make up the practice of medicine while simultaneously pointing out directions for change and breaking readers’ hearts with the tragedies of cultural displacement, medical limitations, and futile good intentions.” ―Perri Klass, M.D., author of A Not Entirely Benign Procedure