Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy
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Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  21 reviews

On one side of the door, the rich smell of sweet, spicy food and the calm of Buddhist devotion; on the other, the strangeness of a new land. When Ira Sukrungruang was born to Thai parents newly arrived in the U.S., they picked his Jewish moniker out of a book of “American” names. In this lively, entertaining, and often hilarious memoir, he relates the early life of a firs

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Published January 25th 2011 by University of Missouri Press (first published March 15th 2010)
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Jenni Nance
A wonderful memoir about growing up Thai in America by my teacher at USF, Ira Sukrungruang. I've been giving and passing this book along all summer to family and friends and thinking of incorporating bits and pieces of it into my multicultural club meetings at school.
Hannah
As the mother of a Thai boy, I found this a nice little glimpse into Thai-American culture. An insight I otherwise never would have known. It's nice to see/hear some beliefs from a culture I hope my son will be a part of.
Fran
Talk Thai: Adventures of Buddhist Boy

Children need rules. These rules need to be clear-cut and easily understood to be followed. However, when one set of rules off sets and contradicts the other, what does a kid do? Imagine moving to the United States and having to become assimilated in our culture but adhere to your old traditions too. What if you were born to Thai parents and could not deviate from their ways in order to learn those of the friends you might make in America? Ira Sukrungruang ha...more
Maura
Ira Sukrungruang was one of my daughter's professor's at SUNY Oswego, so this is how I came to read this book. It's a slender memoir of his early years growing up in Chicago with parents and "Aunty Sue", who was really a friend of his mother and not an actual relative. In some ways, it's a typical story; his mother wants him to be Thai instead of American, his father wants him to reach that American dream of fame and fortune, while Ira just wants to be a regular kid and fit in with everyone else...more
Cole Watts
I read this for a university non-fiction class about life narratives. Most of the books from this class had a sense of macabre about them that were tough to read at times. However, they were thought inspiring and shed light to the tribulations of those that are halfway around the world from Americans.

This was the worst of them all
Alexandra
Talk Thai details the sometimes frustrating, sometimes difficult, but always funny (as he tells it) childhood of Ira Sukrungruang, the son of Thai immigrants who are living in Chicago. His childhood is filled with dichotomy: his mother requires him to be a good Thai boy, but in the suburban American world that is the only one he’s ever known, Ira just wants to fit in. Which to his mind is, to be white. And to have a normal name, not a Jewish one that his parents picked out of an American naming...more
Pickles-effyew
I really enjoyed this book. Outstanding work, and made me yearn for more!
Maureen Stanton
This is an affecting and lyrical coming-of-age and identity memoir. Sukrungruang tells his story of growing up near Chicago as the only son of Thai parents with beauty and grace. Luminous and eloquent scenes serve emblematically and metaphorically to show the challenge of developing a sense of self when the world you inhabit inside your home is different from the one outside.
D.e.e.L D.e.e.L
I had the pleasure of meeting this author in person during a reading. This book was a great read, a story that is told so wonderfully. Meeting this author only made me love the book even more, a great person that has crafted a great book. Reading this also kick started my reading before bed every night habit. Well worth checking out!
Patricia Murphy
Yay Ira! I enjoyed this romp through a Chicago childhood. Nice narrative distance while retaining first person authority.
Sarah
I had to read this book for my memoir class, and--thankfully--I enjoyed it! It's well-written, wonderfully evocative, and downright entertaining. Sukrungruang has a great style and voice, and this story really rang true. I'd recommend it, especially if coming-of-age, immigrant-family memoirs are up your alley.
Catherine
Quick read that’s comprised of a few essays (some apparently previously published in a few different periodicals) rather than a cohesive memoir. Some chapters were more interesting than others, but the writing felt more like an impassive chronicling of events rather than deep reflections from Sukrungruang’s life.
Lotte
As fair and memorable a memoir as I have read. I was grateful for being in bed sick, allowing me to finish it in one read. Ira is an unlikely Hebrew name for a young Thai boy who struggles to find an identity and a place in America.
Denise
A very entertaining book. It was sometimes sad and often humorous. I enjoyed reading about the author's struggle to grow up in the U. S. while living in a family with strong cultural beliefs. I highly recommend this book!
Meagan
One of the best memoirs I've read. I've also met him and he's a genuinely funny and nice guy who gives great writing advice. I wish I'd had my book with me so he could have signed it. *sigh*
Susan
This is a very interesting memoir so far. I'm learning about the Thai culture. At the same time there is a universality of the immigrant experience and of childhood in the book.
Jacqueline
Entertaining and absorbing read. I am grateful to small presses like University of Missouri who give us this kind of quality. This book could have crossover YA appeal.
Joec
A classic story of not only finding your identity but embracing it with such a passion it makes you think about your own.
Caroline
This book continues to haunt me. The writing is elegant, profound, and a most playful romp.
Al
Loved the parts about Thai-American culture, but was bored with the golfing/sports.
Bemilly
Easy to read, funny memoir about growing up Thai in America.
Leah Halkett
Leah Halkett marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2014
Elizabeth
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2014
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May 12, 2014
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