Monday, July 07, 2008

War vs. Buddha

now taking a break from: The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
now reading: Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen

Don't worry, I'm totally going to finish the 700-pager about war. I think. I'm just pausing because we were sitting around Brian's parents' living room and they had Stealing Buddha's Dinner on the shelf there and it had already intrigued me when I touched it at Borders a while back and then I picked it up and it's about a girl who immigrated from Vietnam as a baby and she grew up in Grand Rapids and she's my age so reading her memoir is like reading my own childhood as far as what happened in 1984 and how I felt about it and it's the perfect book to read on one's last day in Grand Rapids since it all takes place here and so that's why.

Of note: Mr. Mailer himself notes in the introduction to the 50th anniversary edition that The Naked and the Dead now strikes him as amateurish when he looks back. (Or, I should say, when he wrote that intro -- who knows how things strike him now, wherever he is, hanging out with George Carlin or whatever.)

As for my little Buddha book, it's not about Buddha at all except for the awesome bits where this 7-year-old Vietnamese-American girl blithely and matter-of-factly shuts down her uber-Christian friends playing in the backyards of Grand Rapids as they ramble on about being saved and she's like, "Whatever, Christianity!"

You know I'm not the biggest memoir fan, but I'm glad I dipped into this one. It's something about the my-age thing, too, of course.

I'm sure I'll return to The Naked and the Dead soon enough. Did I mention it's about war?

1 comment:

Kim Diaz said...

Actually, it struck me as kind of amateurish when I tried to read it as I was a senior in high school. But then I thought perhaps I just wasn't seeing it the way it was meant to be. Still, I put it down and have not picked it back up. I am somewhat relieved now.