From the moment of Lia Lee’s birth in a Merced, California hospital, her parents — Hmong refugees from Laos—are confronted by cultural differences. When Lia begins having grand mal seizures, her parents see the condition as an indication of divine spirit having entered their child’s body. Lia’s physicians, however, call the condition severe epilepsy and attempt to coerce the Lees to follow their medical regimen. The clash that follows puts a child at risk and illustrates the difficulties of communication between cultures with firmly held beliefs.
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 24th, 2012