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Stealing Buddha's Dinnerby Bich Minh Nguyen
Synopses & Reviews
A vivid, funny, and viscerally powerful memoir about childhood, assimilation, food, and growing up in the 1980s.
Beginning with Nguyen's family's harrowing migration from Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha's Dinner is nostalgic and candid, deeply satisfying and minutely observed, and stands as a unique vision of the immigrant experience and a lyrical ode to how identity is often shaped by the things we long for.
"A charming memoir from a Vietnamese immigrant....[And] how she copes with sibling envy, schoolmate rivalries, authoritarian figures, youthful insecurities and a nagging mystery." Ben Fong-Torres, New York Times
"Far from being a memoir of what could be described as fitting into the kitschy ethnic-lit genre, her story is at once personal and broad, about one Vietnamese refugee navigating U.S. culture as well as an exploration of identity." Los Angeles Times
"It's clear that writing the book was Nguyen's way of coming to terms with the turbulent events of growing up. All too often the character of Bich is the quiet girl in the corner, unable to speak her mind. Here, she finally does." San Francisco Chronicle
"Nguyen brings back moments and sensations with such vivid clarity that readers will find themselves similarly jolted back in time." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Her typical and not-so-typical childhood experiences give her story a universal flavor." USA Today
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.
About the Author
Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced/Bit Min New-win/) was born in Saigon in 1974. Her work has appeared in Gourmet, People, and the Chicago Tribune, She currently teaches at the University of Indiana.
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