Thursday, October 04, 2012

In Memoriam: Lia Lee

If there were only one book I could recommend to medical students and residents, it would be Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.  It is a sensitively done narrative about a Hmong child in California with epilepsy who gets caught in a well-intentioned, but very difficult, divide between her parents' culture and that of the American doctors taking care of her.

The little girl, Lia Lee, recently died.  This obituary relates her story and that of Fadiman's documentation.  It starts:

In 1988, when Anne Fadiman met Lia Lee, then 5, for the first time, she wrote down her impressions in four spare lines that now read like found poetry: 

barefoot mother gently rocking silent child
diaper, sweater, strings around wrist
like a baby, but she’s so big
mother kisses and strokes her 

If you have not read the book, please consider doing so.

No comments: