Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir

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9780670038329: Stealing Buddha's Dinner: A Memoir

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.

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From the Publisher:

Winner of the PEN/Jerard Award

About the Author:

Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced Bit Min New-win) teaches literature and creative writing at Purdue University. She lives with her husband, the novelist Porter Shreve, in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, her first book, was the recipient of the PEN/Jerard Fund Award.

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Nguyen, Bich Minh
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