Summer Reading Author Anne Fadiman Visits Meredith
Journalist Anne Fadiman visited Meredith College on Monday, Sept. 10, to discuss her book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,” which was the College’s 2007 Summer Reading Program selection.
Fadiman’s book, which chronicles the trials of Lia Lee, an epileptic Hmong child and her family living in Merced, Calif., is an exploration of the unbreachable gulf between the Hmong culture and American medical system. The book was chosen to support Meredith’s 2007-08 campus theme of “Ethical Leadership.”
As part of her visit to Meredith, Fadiman participated in an informal Q&A with Meredith students at 4 p.m., and at 7 p.m. delivered a public lecture to a crowd of nearly 800 in Jones Auditorium.
During the afternoon Q&A, Fadiman told the freshmen students in the audience “there is a great deal that can be learned about new experiences from the pages of this book.”
She suggested that students try to include both the familiar and the unfamiliar when making friends and choosing classes.
“In your circle of friends, you need people you feel are like you, but you also need people who will challenge you because they are different from you,” Fadiman said.
The author also said that the majority of the questions Meredith students asked her were ones she’d never before been asked.
“Your questions were so thought provoking…thank you for reading my book with such care,” Fadiman said.
In the evening lecture, Fadiman described the eight year process which took Lia Lee’s story from a magazine proposal to a National Book Critics’ Circle Award-winning book. She identified the myriad ethical issues involved in the story.
“Lia was like a thread that became a rope—at the end of that rope it seemed as if the entire universe was attached…[it was] a subject so much larger than I was,” Fadiman said.
Following her lecture, Fadiman took questions from the audience and also participated in a book signing and reception.
Fadiman’s lecture was part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Presidential Lecture Series at Meredith College, which stimulates and enhances the intellectual and academic climate at Meredith College and the broader community. For more information, visit the Campus Theme Web Site.