Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen

I’m glad I didn’t put this book down.

It was during a book sale I found this book, around the last few weeks of spring semester 2014. Its unusual title certainly caught my attention: “Stealing” printed in yellow, “Buddha’s” screamed out in blue and pink, and “Dinner” printed in stark white. Such a colorful arrangement hovering over the picture of child.

My copy.
My copy of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner.

“So cheerful looking, maybe it’s a happy story.”

Never judge a book by its cover.

The author tells her story of how her and her family migrated to America to escape the perils of 1975, Saigon, Vietnam. The story is creatively divided into chapters using American dishes and snacks as titles. At first, I found this amusing  but as I progressed, me feeling shallow amusement sort of took a hike and was in a sort of awe by the end of it to be honest . Such an arrangement certainly makes the book more lighthearted since bold themes such as war, interracial marriage,cultural clashes immigrants face in a new country,and religion can be found within context.

“This story resonates with anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider.”-San Francisco Chronicle

This is not an exaggeration. Although my family and I migrated to where we are now  is not as of a drastic experience as the author’s, that experience definitely helped me build an even stronger emotional attachment to this book. The change in diet, the “childish” need to try to be like everyone else, that undeniable envy from time to time, the loss or gain of a language are just a few points but it is all there.

But with time these feelings are pushed aside as you build your personality, mold yourself into the person you aspire to be. However, there will always be that feeling of not belonging. The author didn’t fail to leave that out.

The book is written with an easy-going style that I appreciate. One thing that gets me annoyed is reading a paragraph and not understanding what the hell is going on–and then I read it again–and it leads to this moment, “Oh, how didn’t I get that?!”

Personally, I am fond of memoirs. This one is certainly one of my favorites. I wonder if anyone else share’s such similar feelings.

Here is a link to the book’s blurb from goodreads: Blurb

-T.B.B.-

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