August 13, 2009

REVIEW: "Mountains Beyond Mountains"

Mention the word "Dartmouth" to any incoming '13 and you'll get your ears talked off. Mention the name "Jim Yong Kim" and you'll probably get your ears talked off some more and hear about our summer reading book. And mention our summer reading book and you'll possibly be stuck for hours in a conversation about Paul Farmer and how awesome he is and oh, my God, he's coming to the inauguration of President Kim on the 22nd and wow, do you think we'll get to meet him?

Okay, so we're impressionable little freshmen, but the point is that Tracy Kidder's book "Mountains Beyond Mountains," graciously gifted to us by the Sphinx Foundation, seems to have made an amazingly impressioned impression on quite a few of us.

The book details the story of Doctor Paul Farmer (also known as "Dokte Paul"), an extraordinary man who would probably hate the fact that I just called him extraordinary. Over the course of the (nonfictitious!) narrative, he saves thousands or actually probably millions of lives, first mainly by the creation of his clinic in Haiti and later by the official formation of Partners in Health, an organization committed to promoting (what else?) health all over the globe, especially for those who can't afford it or who aren't naturally afforded it as they should be.

This, of course, is where our illustrious and, let's be honest, awesome new president comes in; Dr. Jim Yong Kim was crucial to the formation of Partners in Health and seems just as amazing as Dr. Farmer. I'm pretty shocked that he'd even take a second of his time to come to Dartmouth, let alone become our president.... but then again, Dartmouth is worthy of pretty much everything, considering its inherent magnificence.

In case you haven't guessed by now, I recommend "Mountains Beyond Mountains" to the tenth power and beyond. I'm not usually too charitable toward nonfiction; but this book, as well as guilt-tripping me tremendously, made me feel as though there was some hope for humankind... And for a book that spent most of its time describing pain and suffering, that's a pretty difficult feat. (Tracy Kidder, in my book you get just as much credit as the good doctors!)

To sum it all up, Jim Yong Kim, Tracy Kidder, and Paul Farmer are officially three of my favorite people- and three of the best role models a young and innocent freshman could have.


  1. Not just the '13s - this was also the summer reading for the '09s! I'm so proud of Dartmouth for bringing in Dr. Kim.

  2. i know - it'll be so exciting =)