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Extended Audio Sample Stealing Buddhas Dinner Audiobook, by Bich Minh Nguyen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.21 out of 53.21 out of 53.21 out of 53.21 out of 53.21 out of 5 3.21 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bich Minh Nguyen Narrator: Alice H. Kennedy Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781423391128
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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. Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is also a portrayal of a diverse family: Nguyen’s hardworking, hard-partying father; pretty sister; wise and nurturing grandmother; and Rosa, her Latina stepmother. And there is the mystery of Nguyen’s birth mother, unveiled movingly over the course of the book. Nostalgic and candid, 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. “Her typical and not-so-typical childhood experiences give her story a universal flavor.” – USA Today “Beautifully written...[Nguyen] is fearless in asserting the specificities of memories culled from early childhood and is, herself, an appealing character on the page...A writer to watch.” – Chicago Tribune “Perfectly pitched and prodigiously detailed.” – The Boston Globe Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie Springer | 2/13/2014

    " Great memoir about Vietnamese refugee growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia Williams | 2/8/2014

    " I thought the book was good, but not great. I think it kept my interest because of the 80's references and brought me down memmory lane. As much as she talked about food, I would have thought she would become a culinary chef. But of course I know the food is a metaphor to her struggle to "fit in" Overall the book gives you a good sense of her feelings. Much is relatable to everyone's experience at one time or another. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandra Lederman | 2/7/2014

    " "Book Group Choice -- Local author-- Memoir -- Lots of food speak, interesting insight into Grand Rapids -- Look forward to seeing the author in October" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marge | 2/6/2014

    " Knowing so much about Grand Rapids and the Vietnamese people probably caused me to give an extra star to my rating. But this is a well written book and really gives an inside look to an immigrant's life. This book's content also would increase a person's knowledge on accepting diversity among people. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JulieK | 2/4/2014

    " A somewhat melancholy memoir of growing up Vietnamese-American in Michigan. The author focuses a lot on food and how things like SpaghettiOs and Hostess cupcakes were symbols to her of being American and fitting in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 2/1/2014

    " Wow, this author beat me to own memoir. Although not exactly the same experiences as mine, her feelings mirror my own about growing up as an outsider in Grand Rapids, MI. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pilar Wyman | 1/6/2014

    " The ending scenes say it all. But don't jump ahead! It's the story of all immigrants, especially the child immigrants. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shirley | 12/31/2013

    " It's fun reminiscing with the author about growing up first generation Asian-American in the 70s and 80s. Lots of references to food (wanting Kraft Mac n Cheese instead of rice!) and music. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 12/26/2013

    " I most enjoyed Bich's personal narrative and found it to be relatable and honest. The story, at times, got bogged down with the food theme, some of which didn't seem necessary. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Morgan | 12/17/2013

    " The non-linear aspect of the memoir really bugged me. What drove me to finish the book (which I usually don't do if I don't like it) was all the references to GR. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack Ippel | 12/9/2013

    " I enjoyed the book, as seen in my four-star rating. However, as a friend said, it is "too close to home" when almost all of the locations and store names are familiar. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leticia | 12/2/2013

    " This book was really dry. Though I associated with the author's experience trying to blend into American society through the use of food, she lacked any depth in her storytelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Colman | 10/21/2013

    " I couldn't read this in one sitting. I had to stop and savor all the lovely little morsels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tessa | 7/9/2013

    " Anyone who grew up in West Michigan should read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joni | 4/28/2013

    " This was an interesting book from the perspective of an immigrant on how she felt different from those around her; from her looks to her culture. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 kimber | 3/13/2013

    " I was excited to read this book at first...then after starting realized it was the same story over and over again. I wouldn't recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Davida | 1/13/2013

    " A pleasant book on food, being an outsider, and reading. Some really nice bits but none so good that I've chosen to record them here. Her writing lacks some ooomph, but it kept me engaged enough that I wanted to keep reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Siszurpicki | 7/21/2012

    " Early life in Grand Rapids of a young Vietnamese girl. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linh Vu | 6/24/2012

    " bits and bits of interesting parts, very interesting material, but overall woven weakly and doesn't have a good grip of the audience's attention. Weak emotional stream. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cosette | 6/3/2012

    " I didn't expect what I found and was surprised by the similarities I felt with the author's representation of her youth. Funny and open about most everything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise Engel | 3/16/2012

    " a good look into her life experience "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christine | 3/9/2012

    " An ode to the 80s, as well as an immigrant's tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louise | 6/15/2011

    " A lovely memoir by a gifted writer. While I found myself fascinated by the Vietnamese immigrant experience, I also found myself thinking that the author's observations are equally applicable to anyone who is an "outsider."
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 5/23/2011

    " The writing's subpar, but anyone who is in their 30's and grew up in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area can totally relate. Also good for people who are from displaced cultures. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 5/13/2011

    " I "read" this one via audio/CD while on a trip with a friend. I don't think audio is my thing. I believe I missed quite a bit of this book. I may consider actually reading it someday. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cori | 5/10/2011

    " i was excited that the two of us bought candy from the same store. and then i hated everything about the book other than that. poorly thought out, jumps from one topic to another and eventually back again with no plan. also, she's a huge whiner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gib | 3/13/2011

    " Hot dogs and sticky rice go good together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl | 2/21/2011

    " Very easy read about Bich Minh Nguyen's experience coming to the United States. She does a solid job showing the clash between cultures (Saigon, United States, Mexico) and how she and her family adapted in the Michigan. Very nice interplay about the role of food in various cultures. "

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About the Author

Bich Minh Nguyen (who goes by the name Beth) teaches literature and creative writing in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and their two children. Among her honors are a PEN/Jerard Fund Award and an American Book Award. Her work has appeared in publications including the Found Magazine anthology and The New York Times.