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Squint: My Journey with Leprosy (Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography) Hardcover – February 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In 1968, at the age of 20, Ramirez was diagnosed with leprosy and shipped to a 350-acre hospital at Carville, Lou., the only one of its kind in the continental U.S, where he was kept and treated for almost 10 years. Despite significant medical advances (including the 1941 discovery of the "miracle drug" promin), the pariah-like treatment of "lepers" (a term Ramirez rejects) had not improved much in hundreds of years (when they were forced to view church services through an opening called a "squint"). Even his parents, devout Catholics, accepted a Biblical prognosis that suggested their son had been rendered "unclean" because of their unwitting sinfulness. Still, Ramirez presents a heart-warming account of their support, along with his 12 siblings and wife-to-be, reflecting the mores of his tightly-knit Mexican community in Laredo, Tex. Ramirez also relates wrenching but inspiring stories of fellow patients-many abandoned by relatives and loved ones-who became his second family. During his illness, Ramirez received a Bachelors and a Masters Degree from LSU (in social work), and began to challenge the segregation of patients from staff at Carville. This outstanding, uplifting memoir by a remarkable man should captivate those interested in the intersection of illness, family and religion. 20 b&w illustrations.
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Top customer reviews
For anyone who wants insight into Hansens disease (leprosy) and into personal activism this is a must read. The book is touching, inspiring and even funny.
While the book isn't an on-the-edge-of-your-seat page-turner, the author tells his stories well. I felt engaged throughout the book. Occasionally, I got lost in the chronology, but I found that the chronology wasn't all that relevant to the story, anyway, so this wasn't an irritant.
Overall, the book gives the reader more than it promises in the title.