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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:

BIOGRAPHY NGUYEN

Beginning with her family’s harrowing migration out of Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner follows Bich Nguyen as she comes of age in the pre-PC-era Midwest. Filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, Nguyen’s desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food-Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House cookies. More exotic-seeming than her Buddhist grandmother’s traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled “delicacies” of mainstream America become an ingenious metaphor for her struggle to become a “real” American.

Amazon Description:

Winner of the PEN/Jerard Award. 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.