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📙 Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen, narrator Alice H. Kennedy


3.5


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, the 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, herbs, and bean sprouts; 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 becomes an ingenious metaphor for her struggle to fit in, to become a "real" American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell-O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man.Beginning with Nguyen's family's harrowing migration out of Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha's Dinner is also a portrayal of a diverse family: Nguyen's hardworking, hard-partying father, pretty sister, and wise and nurturing grandmother - and Rosa, her Latina stepmother, the loving, no-nonsense foil to her gastronomical and materialistic fixations. And there is the mystery of Nguyen's birth mother, unveiled movingly over the course of the book.Nostalgic and candid, deeply satisfying and minutely observed, Stealing Buddha's Dinner is a unique vision of the immigrant experience and a lyrical ode to how identity is often shaped by the things we long for. ©2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; ©2008 Bich Minh Nguyen

About book:

Reviews:

4

"Good book, ok narration"

The book was good but the narration was sometimes frustrating or uncomfortable to listen to - the narrator paused at weird times that don't make sense with the pronunciation used or typical (american english) intonation in general. It didn't make the book impossible to listen to but I wouldn't have kept listening to it if I didn't have to read the book. I got used to it after the first few chapters but it was pretty grating at first. Otherwise her voice and performance are fine.
5

"glad there is an audio book!"

being able to hear the Vietnamese words spoken properly was a huge help to me !
4

"Really Good"

Love the story and the descriptions of food. Different perspective on life in America. Read the book too for an Ethnic Studies class.
2

"Don't both"

3/4 way through and nothing is happening yet. I work with ESL students and wanted some insight into their new life in USA. This isn't it.
3

"As a native of Grand Rapids,"

As a native of Grand Rapids, I love the accurate descriptions of the culture. Sadly, I did not feel compelled to finish listening as the descriptions of food became long. It may be I had too many distractions to listening.

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