As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in the 1980s 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 blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme, the barely conscious desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food…
Beginning with Nguyen’s family’s harrowing migration out of Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner is also a portrayal of a diverse familyâ€”Nguyen’s hard-working, hard-partying father, pretty sister, and wise and nurturing grandmother, and Rosa, their Latina stepmother, the loving, no-nonsense foil to Bich’s gastronomical and materialistic fixation.
Get a lot more background information on the book – including the answer to “why Stealing Buddha’s Dinner?” – at the author’s site and also check out this NPR audio interview with Bich Minh Nguyen and a review of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner from the New York Times.
The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.