47. Squint: My Journey with Leprosy by Jose P. Ramirez
This book was sort of interesting, sort of informative, and sort of frustrating all at the same time. I had two big issues with the book. First, I don’t think it was written very well. The narrative is rather dry even when the author is describing very emotional things. It was a lot of this happened, then this happened kind of writing. That may partially be as a result of English not being the author’s first language (or at least I assume it isn’t based on the story). My second criticism can only partially be blamed on the book. Like most Americans my knowledge of leprosy is pretty much limited to stuff from the Bible and the movie Ben Hur. Obviously not the most factual, or up-to-date information. The author continuously points out how wrong people are about leprosy and how hurtful it is to be stigmatized and called a leper, but I never really felt like he gave much information to combat it in the book. There is a FAQ section about leprosy at the back of the book, but it was kind of annoying to have to wait to get to that section to have some of my questions answered. Although some of them still remain unanswered because they just are. For instance no one really knows for sure how people catch leprosy.
I learned a lot about the effects of the disease reading the book, but despite the author’s best efforts he did not eradicate my fears about leprosy (not that I really think about leprosy all that much), but if I ran into someone who had it I would be afraid. He says that only 3% of people are even capable of catching the bacillus responsible, but if you don’t know if you are one of that 3% it’s kind of scary because trust me after reading about what he went through I would never want to take the chance.
I rate the book 5 out of 10.