KDL Recommends > Book Club in a Bag

KDL Recommends

< Enrique's Journey | The Time Traveler's Wife >

Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir

Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir

ISBN: 0670038326

Title: Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir

Author: Bich Minh Nguyen

KDL Description:


Great Michigan Read
A coming-of-age memoir by a Vietnamese American recounts her struggles for an American identity in the pre-politically correct climate of the Midwest and her passion for American food in the face of her family’s Buddhist lifestyle.
Download a discussion guide for this book

Amazon Description:

A vivid, funny, and viscerally powerful memoir about childhood, assimilation, food, and growing up in the 1980s.

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bich Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity. In the pre-PC era Midwest, where the devoutly Christian blond-haired, blue-eyed Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme, Nguyen’s barely conscious desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic seeming than her Buddhist grandmother’s traditional specialties — spring rolls, delicate pancakes stuffed with meats, fried shrimp cakes — the campy, preservative-filled “delicacies” of mainstream America capture her imagination. And in this remarkable book, the glossy branded allure of such American foods as Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House cookies become an ingenious metaphor for her struggle to fit in, to become a “real” American.

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.