Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen

The author (her name is pronounced Bit) escaped with her family (minus her mother) from Vietnam in 1975. They ended up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Nguyen yearns after the lifestyle and food of the white Americans around her, and yet she finds comfort in the Vietnamese food that her grandmother cooks at home every afternoon. And that is just a small picture of the 1.5 generation immigrant experience and the search for identity as a Vietnamese (or fill-in-the-blank)-American.

I thought that Stealing Buddha's Dinner was beautifully written, funny, and tenderhearted. I've actually visited Grand Rapids, Michigan because one of my good friends lives there (and second-generation Asian-American, Boomer, received some compliments on how well he spoke English while we were there), so it was interesting to read about an Asian-American's experience growing up there.

If you're interested in expanding your knowledge about the immigrant experience with a very accessible book, I would recommend Stealing Buddha's Dinner.

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