Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Look Back 2008, The Most Educational: Infidel and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

I learned a lot about two very different cultures this year. Infidel tells the true story of a young woman who leaves the Muslim religion behind, goes to school and eventually becomes a member of the Dutch parliament. The Spirit Catches You tells the true story of a Hmong family with an epileptic child, and how communicating with doctors was nearly impossible, in addition to the family’s beliefs not necessarily falling in line with Western medicine.

Both books made me realize how little many of us know about other cultures. How just because someone from another culture disagrees with something American doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to be difficult, but because something is ingrained in them that they firmly believe. And they may not necessarily be wrong. How when two cultures think so completely differently, there’s really no way to meet in the middle – it takes one side folding more to the other.

While both books were very educational for me, they also raised just as many questions. The books are set out to do the right thing: create awareness. But most of the time awareness isn’t enough. We have to do more, together.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Top Books 2007


CMS said...

I couldn't agree more.

kristine said...

i'd love to read that book about the hmong family - thanks for the tip!