Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Book Review: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

I picked up "Mountains Beyond Mountains" on the recommendation of a reader (thanks, Katrina). It is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his medical work in Haiti and beyond. Dr. Farmer’s philosophy is that the poor, and he works with the poorest of the poor, should come first. They should receive top-notch medical care. They matter.

I found the book to be riveting. The jacket describes Dr. Farmer as a "world-class Robin Hood," but I hardly think that does him justice. This is a man who can exhaust the Energizer Bunny. He builds a state-of-the-art hospital on an impassable road and then walks from that hospital seven hours to see one patient. He actually changed the way the whole world health community does medicine for the poor. Although he gets his philosophy from Catholicism’s liberation theology, Dr. Farmer does not come across as a Christian. Nevertheless, his compassion for the poor looks a lot like Jesus.

I heartily recommend the book, but with a caution. Although Dr. Farmer’s life may look like Jesus, his speech often resembles Junior High graffiti. To be perfectly clear, since this is a family-friendly blog, the dialog includes a lot of swearing. For that, I’ll give "Mountains Beyond Mountains" four stars out of five.


kale for sale said...

I am so glad you read this book and wrote about it. I loved it! I read it while traveling in Cambodia and visited a hospital that was set up in the same fashion as Kidder's in Haiti. The synchronicity was astounding. All the tourists in Siem Reap go to the hospital for a concert and short documentary every Saturday night put on by the primary Swiss doctor behind everything and before they leave he says, leave your blood or your money. We need both. And everyone leaves one or the other. Remembering it still brings tears to my eyes. It was painful and beautiful all at the same time.

Donna said...

Wow! Well, thank you so much for recommending the book. It was eye-opening, to say the least!