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The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In
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The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  15 reviews
When you come from a mixed race background as Paisley Rekdal does — her mother is Chinese American and her father is Norwegian– thorny issues of identity politics, and interracial desire are never far from the surface. Here in this hypnotic blend of personal essay and travelogue, Rekdal journeys throughout Asia to explore her place in a world where one’s “appearance is the ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2000)
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I wish I could say I enjoyed this book more than I did. I had read some of Paisley Rekdal's poetry books and was interested in reading this mainly because of her time spent in South Korea, which I can identify with having studied abroad there. And to a degree, I enjoyed reading her reflections on Korea and could smile at some our similar experiences, but I felt like overall she had a very negative and paranoid view of everything that was happening around her, and after a while I felt frustrated ...more
Joyce Pavao
great fun identity book
Shin Yu
The essays in this collection are meditations upon race and identity that arise from Redkal's travels abroad in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and the Phillipines. As the child of a bi-racial marriage, the author sticks out whether in Asia or in the U.S. The author confronts stereotypes and biases amongst her agemates in Japan who insist on her "Americanness" despite having a Chinese mother who speaks Chinese - they are simply unable to conceive of a person as being both, or more than one thing. In Korea ...more
Susan Skelly
I thought this would be more like a memoir, but it turned out to be an interesting collection of essays on identity and race.

Parts of it felt a bit tedious, but overall it is well-done.
I don't know if this is one of the best books I have ever read, but it definitely got me thinking and comes to mind often. Rekdal is the daughter of a Chinese mother and a white European father. Although she is half Chinese, she looks more like her father. One of the most interesting stories is about the trip she took with her mother to China. Another interesting story is about an experience as an exchange student in Japan. The work explores important questions about race and identity. What does ...more
Mike Davis
I thought the world of Bruce.
Read for my Asian American Autobiography seminar. Rekdal's prose is crisp, poetic, and haunting. The essays can stand alone yet still work well together. A few flaws: she clearly keeps the reader at a distance and doesn't really explore her identity struggles/emotions in depth. I would still recommend it.
I wish I could give this three and a half stars—though, in fairness, it has been a couple of years since I read it. It's a beautiful, fascinating, insightful work that I think off often. But somehow it just didn't coalesce into quite the whole it seemed to want to be... Definitely a worthy read, however.
Intelligent, probing essays in which Rekdal muses about "not fitting in," as a young biracial woman, in both Asian societies (Japan, Korea, Taiwan) and at home in Seattle. Rekdal's writing is vibrant and supple -- as are the relationships she describes.
Ms. G
Liked the cover, the title and the price--$1 at thrift store. Something kept me reading this book--perhaps it's ease and to some extent the topic--inter-racial issues--but I was disappointed in all of the above.. just sort of dull.
Lindsey Spadoni
I totally relate to so many of the stories in this book from my experiences in Thailand. It's prodding me to finish writing my own story. If only I had as good of a memory as she does...
It took waaaaaaaaaaaay too long to read this book. I think I had about 50 pages to go when I had to return it to the library. I was never motivated to try to go back and check it out again.
Solid collection of essays - I'd be interested in reading more of her autobiographical stories.
Disappointing read. I'd hoped for a memoir but this was a collection of essays.
prefer her poetry over her prose
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Rekdal grew up in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a Chinese American mother and a Norwegian father. She earned a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of the poetry collections A Crash of Rhinos (2000), Six Girls Without Pants (2002), and The Invention of ...more
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