I am just speeding through these To Be Read books! Good stuff.
Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is a memoir by Bich Minh Nguyen about her childhood in Michigan. She and her family (father, sister, grandmother and various uncles) escaped Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon, when she was just 8 months old. The book touches on growing up as an outsider in very White Michigan during the 1980s. This is manifested in many ways, particularly in the disconnect between the food she eats at home (her grandmother’s pho, her stepmother’s sopa) and the food her neighbors and classmates eat (Hamburger Helper, Shake and Bake). I enjoyed the book, but thought it felt a bit scattered (although I suppose that’s true of all of our memories of childhood. It reminded me of The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang (although if you only read one, I recommend the Latehomecomer before Stealing Buddha’s Dinner). That said, I certainly have enough room in my reading repertoire for a number of memoirs (one of my favorite genres) and Stealing Buddha’s Dinner did not disappoint.