Reviews for Mountains Beyond Mountains : The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kidder's inspiring story of American doctor Paul Farmer has now been adapted--to good effect--for young readers, with the help of coauthor French. As Kidder demonstrates, Farmer is a remarkable man. A noted epidemiologist who has worked with such infectious diseases as tuberculosis and AIDS, he is also a medical anthropologist, a clinician, and an expert in public health. His ambitious goal is to improve health policy for the poor on a global scale. By making himself a presence in the book, Kidder becomes a surrogate for the reader as he travels with Farmer to the slums of Lima, Peru; the prisons of Russia and Siberia; and to Farmer's base, in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and a place Farmer has loved since he was a college student. Kidder expertly provides context for Farmer's life and work, including a look at his eccentric upbringing and his relationships with friends and colleagues. Though sometimes complex, the story is always accessible and often fascinating. Best of all, its focus on Farmer the humanitarian provides a much-needed education in empathy. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
French adapts Kidder's adult examination (first published ten years ago) of "doctor to countries" Paul Farmer, leaving the ethnographic journalistic approach intact and allowing Kidder's personal interpretations to surface. Without making Farmer a saint (and for such a dedicated and driven individual, that's not easy), French's adaptation gives young readers a thoughtful examination of a complex man operating in a complex world.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #3
With an MD and PhD from Harvard and a teaching position at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Paul Farmer states that what he wants in life is to be a country doctor. What he is, though, is a doctor to countries: poor countries around the globe such as Haiti, Peru, Russia, and Rwanda, where the citizens have major health problems and little access to care. Here, French adapts Kidder's adult examination of Farmer (first published ten years ago), leaving the ethnographic journalistic approach intact and allowing Kidder's personal interpretations about the man to surface. He retains many of Farmer's own observations about the "O for the P" (or options for the poor) and narrations about Haiti that represent Farmer's views on the political, social, and medical situations in a country he loves. What has been cut is much of the science behind Farmer's infectious disease research, although French does retain a basic overview that leads to an understanding of MDR (multi-drug-resistant) TB and the way, before Farmer's intervention, such illnesses were misreported and ineffectually treated by the World Health Organization. Without making Farmer a saint (and for such a dedicated and driven individual, that's not easy), French's adaptation gives young readers a thoughtful examination of a complex man operating in a complex world. An author's note updates Farmer and his team's activities over the past decade. betty carter

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #1
The story of a doctor's quest to heal the sick in a poor Haitian community and beyond. Dr. Paul Farmer is one of those characters the world could use a few more of, which is why it is great to have this book to put in as many young hands as possible. He saw something his conscience simply could not abide--the medical neglect of poor people--and then went and did something about it, setting up a clinic to serve the medical needs of an impoverished Haitian neighborhood. But he is everywhere else as well, from Peru to Russia, a powerhouse for medical good. He has a wonderful way of screwing down on some of the worst behaviors of humanity--how we habituate ourselves to the misery of others, the absurd self-regard of the medical profession--while (mostly) not coming across as churlish or self-righteous. French has done a fine job of adapting Kidder's book for young readers, almost invisibly tinkering with the original storytelling while not dodging any of Farmer's obsessive characteristics or forceful arguments. The power of the story, of the need to just get things done since there are always resources to tap if the cause is just, pours forth as Kidder intended. An important story that feels like it breathes a dose of virtuous oxygen right into readers' heads. (Nonfiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 7-10--An adaptation of the 2003 adult book with the same title. It is an admiring biography constructed from long stretches of personal experience with Farmer, international health specialist and infectious disease expert, whose focus was always the Haitian poor. Farmer has spent his life taking modern medicine (as well as schools, houses, sanitation, and water systems) to a poverty-stricken area of Haiti and to underdogs around the world. Lending "a voice to the voiceless," and working as a clinician as well as an organizer, he developed Partners in Health, funded first by a Boston philanthropist and later by the Gates Foundation and now internationally active. While French's adaptation follows the same sequencing, his compression removes much of the detail that made the original so readable and interesting. Omissions make episodes difficult to understand and, at least in one case, a description of one character is applied to another. Still, books showing how one person can make a difference are always welcome in young adult literature and this one will be appreciated where the young readers' edition of Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin's Three Cups of Tea (Dial, 2009) has been popular. But for the full flavor of the man's life and his impact on the author, older readers should seek out the original.--Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD

[Page 180]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2013 June
This story of Dr. Paul Farmer, medical scientist and infectious disease expert, begins with Kidder's recounting how he met Farmer in Haiti by accident. This "undeniably confident" man who looked like nothing very special would dramatically alter the way politicians, scientists, and world leaders thought about infectious diseases in Haiti and other countries. Farmer's unusual childhood, which found he and his family living in the strangest of places (including a boat), helped to shape the doctor into a fearless champion of the poor and ill. Farmer's story takes him from the U.S. to Haiti to Russia and many places in between, fighting for equality in health care and proving that one person can, in fact, change the world Kidder's breathtaking story about Farmer's strength, resilience, and nearly indomitable will has been adapted in this novel for a young adult audience. The original work by the same title is quite a bit more wordy and involved, but this book's adaptation does not reduce or besmirch Farmer's story in any way. If nothing else, French's adaptation makes the tale of Dr. Paul Farmer accessible for a younger audience--more to the point, but with enough detail to keep readers interested. There are so few good nonfiction titles for teens that this book has earned a place on almost any library's shelves.--Amanda Fensch 4P 3Q S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

----------------------