Ralph Jennings of The Modesto Bee said "Hmong, including some among the 2,000 in Modesto, say the book typified conflicts between their culture and American institutions. But some say it didn't capture the complexity of the Hmong culture."
Cheng Lee, a brother of Lia Lee, said that his father and mother liked Fadiman's book.
“Compellingly written, from the heart and from the trenches. I couldn’t wait to finish it, then reread it and ponder it again. It is a powerful case study of a medical tragedy.” - David H. Mark, Journal of the American Medical Association
Anne Fadiman's essay "Hmong Odyssey," adapted from the book, was published in the March–April 1998 Via. The Hmong community leaders in Fresno, California praised the essay, saying that it was thoughtful and accurate.