Stealing Buddha's Dinner

Stealing Buddha's Dinner

by Bich Minh Nguyen
3.9 15


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Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother's traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled "delicacies" of mainstream America capture her imagination.

In Stealing Buddha's Dinner, the glossy branded allure of Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House Cookies becomes an ingenious metaphor for Nguyen's struggle to become a "real" American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell- O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man. Vivid and viscerally powerful, this remarkable memoir about growing up in the 1980s introduces an original new literary voice and an entirely new spin on the classic assimilation story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670038329
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2007
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.86(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced/Bit Min New-win/) was born in Saigon and grew up in Michigan. Her work has appeared in Gourmet, People, the Chicago Tribune, and numerous anthologies.

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Stealing Buddha's Dinner 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished this delightful memoir. I admit I don't often read the memoirs out today because their subject matter always seems to be about abuse. But this one is different. We are taken on a journey from Vietnam to Grand Rapids Michigan, through the eyes of a young girl trying to seek her identity through the crass commercialism of the United States. Food plays a major role in this narrative, rather than abuse, although there is plenty of dysfunction in this mixed family situation. Nguyen is definitely a writer to watch, and I look forward to reading her novel when it comes out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up with the same thoughts about eating fruits on the alter as this author did. A very well-written book 'in the English light.' However, I find a great disappointment in the spelling errors of Vietnamese words she decided to incorporate into this book. The editors of this book should look into the spelling errors in this book, at this day and age I feel that consumers should not have to pay for books with spelling errors, and it is very unPC to have mispellings of words. Other than this mishap, this was an interesting read that I've referred to others.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This is truly an American story, cut from the cloth of America's adventures militarily and the consequent experience of those displaced. Seeing everyday American society through the eyes of one trying to be part of but also feeling apart from the culture she is forced to accommodate gives a new insight into the America many take for granted. The author is skilled at getting her audience to take a step back from the taken-for-granted realities of every day life and helping them to see the quirks in what they have assumed to be normal. The American reader will never see the tradition of making cookies the same.
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LisaRap More than 1 year ago
A coworker recommended this book to me. I enjoyed it. It's light and fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jbg78 More than 1 year ago
Stealing Buddha's Dinner was an interesting book. Being from the state of Michigan, it was fun to read about places that I know and experiences that I have had in this state. I have gone blueberry picking in PawPaw. I grew up during this time period and remember vividly the airlift out of Vietnam. This series of events in the book was totally fascinating and heart-breaking at the same time. The food in this book made my mouth water and brought back many of my own childhood memories. I loved those candy necklaces. The references to the Vietnamese food made me want to learn to cook these traditional foods. I also enjoyed the music that was mentioned in the book. Some were just so funny, because I would start singing the words. This book was just enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really exciting at first! I was really excited to read it because the family ends up in the city i live by! Then I got to the middle... It was so slow that I couldn't wait to put it down. I HAD to read it for an english assignment so i HAD to finish it. Im not sure if I would have finished it if I wasn't required to.
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Honu More than 1 year ago
Good read. Love learning culture and a person's stuggle with culture and identity. Much hope remains! We learn from past experiences.
sarafenix More than 1 year ago
A representation of the process that immigrants go through when the reach a destination that was going to answer all their needs. Definitely worth reading, if only to see what others face when going through a cultural shock of this kind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago