Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mountains Beyond Mountains - Tracy Kidder

This is Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea set in Haiti. I've never read Tracy Kidder before, but have heard that he is the master of the non-fiction narrative. Here, Kidder tells the story of Dr. Paul Farmer - a Harvard educated doctor driven by the need to make the world a better and safe place for everyone. He devotes his life to eradicating TB and bringing world-class medical care to a desperately improverished town in Haiti. Like all people of this undaunted and perservering ilk, Farmer is full of pithy sayings - most of the "never say never" variety. Kidder does a wonderful job chronicling Farmer's life story - how he came to be in Haiti, and how he has earned the respect and admiration of the people he serves. But, I was glad to see that Kidder did not ignore the impact that Farmer's choices have made on his own personal life. Farmer's desire to put the needs of an entire community before his own, often it seems, prevented him recognizing the needs of his own family and friends. At times Kidder's thorough discussion of the medical and political morass encompassing Farmer's work was a bit tedious. But, overall this was a truly inspirational story about the difference one man has made by dedicating his own life to change, and encouraging so many others to do the same.

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