Lia Lee, 1982-2012

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Lia Lee, the protagonist of Anne Fadiman’s excellent work of non-fiction, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, died on August 31st. If you don’t know just what that signifies, the Times has a long article about Lia, and the book, but it’s too simplistic, and I’d suggest you just go read the book itself. It’s a book about the price of cross-cultural misunderstanding for one tiny child, and Fadiman walks the line between explanation and judgment that can only come from the most careful research and writing. I wish there were more books that tried for the same.


Michelle Dean has written for a variety of places, including The Awl, ELLE and Bitch. More from this author →