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Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers
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Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  440 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Her name is Lovey Nariyoshi, and her Hawai'i is not the one of leis, pineapple, and Magnum P.I. In the blue collar town of Hilo, on the Big Island, Lovey and her eccentric Japanese-American family are at the margins of poverty, in the midst of a tropical paradise. With her endearing, effeminate best friend Jerry, Lovey suffers schoolyard bullies, class warfare, Singer sewi ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Picador (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 762)
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Paul Jr.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a strong connection to the Hawaiian Islands and a strong curiosity to read the stories by Hawaiian authors. I'm not so much interested in the exoticism of the islands as I am the real, true life stories. So when author Lavina Ludlow (novel forthcoming from Casperian Books) suggested the work of Lois-Ann Yamanaka, I was more than willing to dive in.

Now, when authors are new to me, I do not search out any reviews or biographical information before hand as I do
Abby Howell
May 21, 2010 Abby Howell rated it liked it
A solid coming of age story set in Hawaii in the 1960's. I liked it because it gave a sense of what Hawaii is really like to live there, beyond the mass media. And what it is like to be a Hawaiian.
Jan 14, 2009 Jolynn rated it it was amazing
Poetic use of Pidgin and very nostalgic for me. It tasted like home.
Mar 01, 2008 Joshua added it
Shelves: horrible-crap
Oh this book was so creative!! It is just vast in its immensity and scope! I put it on the bookshelf right between Herman Melville and Vladamir Nabokov even though thats not alphabetical order. I Don't care! It deserves its place amongst the great ones!! Maybe "Moby Dick", "A Tale of Two Cities"...and "Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers"!! Hmmmmmm. I love reading books written in Pidgen English about bratty young children going through adolescence. I also particularly love it when there is an older ...more
Cheryl Klein
Oct 25, 2008 Cheryl Klein rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
I started reading this book shortly before visiting the Big Island of Hawaii for the first time. It really captures the wildness of the island--the junior-high protagonist is always scooping fish from a pond or raising rabbits or hunting for birds. It can be brutal--like when her dad describes a herd of goats trapped in a lava flow--and life isn't much kinder to the humans in the story. The writing is beautiful in a visceral way (like Cynthia Kadohata's and Lynda Barry's), even if the book could ...more
Marie Hviding
It is hard to imagine how anyone could depict a truer picture of growing up in Hawaii in the 70s. As a haole girl growing up on Oahu's North Shore, my reaction to Yamanaka's book is extremely personal. I connected with everything Lovey thought, albeit in a skewed way at times (I longed for long straight black hair like all the other little girls I knew, as opposed to Lovey's desire for long blond hair). And this is perhaps the book's major flaw. Yamanaka is so skilled at evoking this particular ...more
Apr 29, 2008 J rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens; anyone traveling to Hawaii
Sweet coming of age tale of a third generation Japanese Hawaiian girl growing up in the 1970's. Lovey's father who grew up on the plantation is always scheming to make money - from rabbits to collecting feathers for leis - and Lovey thinks she wants nothing more than to have a nice white picket fence, nothing second hand and have a haole name. When her dad is injured in a hunting accident, Lovey finally understands the messages her dad has been quietly teaching her - about being proud of where y ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Kirei rated it did not like it
I give myself a pat on the back for finishing this book. It's like being forced to read someone's diary, with the author eagerly waiting for you to finish as she sits and drinks coffee right in front of you. You bleed through the pages and ask yourself, "Why do I do this to myself?" When I finally got to the final two chapters, I was surprised to find myself actually laughing at that Grad Dance bit. Okay, Ms. Yamanaka, it's okay. I'm sorry I got bored with your book. It's obviously not for me si ...more
Aug 20, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Funny, happy, sad, and real. I love the writing in this book - feels like I spent the whole day talking story in Hilo.
I had an interesting time reading this book. I usually don't have a hard time with accents, but the pidgin and slang used through the book really threw me.

There were some good parts that had me rolling on the floor laughing. I could commiserate with events such as having your barbies hair cut off in a mohawk, and drawn on by older brothers(in my case it was a neighborhood boy), and being teased for not having any female friends - just one boy who also gets teased. But other parts of the book wer
Nov 15, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Jun 03, 2008 Betsey rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book, but it read more like a collection of stories than a novel. The only reason it was a novel is because the title says so. The short stories only cross-linked a few times. I liked the use of the Hawai'ian pidgin/creole, and it was fun to read while visiting the islands. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone, but especially folks going over for a visit. nice perspective that you can't get on vacation.
May 30, 2009 David rated it really liked it
I love Yamanaka's writing and this book does not disappoint. The Pidgin Hawaiian is masterfully handled and weaves in texture without disrupting the reading. Yamanaka just creates such rich scenes you can almost touch. Emotional as well and not overly sentimental. I enjoyed this one just as much as "Blu's Hanging", if not a little more so.
Erin (Brown) Vrugic
Apr 06, 2010 Erin (Brown) Vrugic rated it really liked it
The book is set in Hilo, Hawaii and is a very local style. I love that the author wrote much of the dialogue in pidgin. The imagery is strong and the plot is not too thick.
Could be a challenging read for people not familiar with Hawaiian rural culture OR a great introduction for what life is really like in some parts of the islands.
Aug 21, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it
Picked this up at a yard sale for a quarter (a folk singer's yard sale, no less). It's a coming-of-age story set about a working-class Japanese-American girl on Hawaii's Big Island. It fell short at times, but the writing has a beautiful rhythm and the author really captured feelings of those awkward middle school years.
Brittany Laccetti
Jan 23, 2012 Brittany Laccetti rated it really liked it
I love this authors voice. I love knowing she is from Hawaii, and writing in pidgin form, because it really creates the image of the characters. This "coming of age" story through the eyes of a young unpopular poor girl really makes this a page turner, along with the ridiculous tales of her father.
Aug 14, 2008 Dawn rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, although it challenged me in ways I didn't expect. I'm not a fan of books written in dialect, so I struggled with that at first. Ultimately, the use of the pidgin english enhanced the tale. I was having so many memories of childhood while reading it, not all of them pleasant.
Feb 06, 2009 Adornable rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
Tough and tender coming of age story of a Japanese-American girl born and raised in Hawaii. It takes place during the 1970's. I would recommend this to those who like Huckleberry Finn and Go Ask Alice (by Anonymous). My favorite passage involves a purloined marijuana stash and Barbie dolls. What a hoot!
Feb 27, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I bought this book for a recent trip to Hawaii as it is a coming-of-age story about a young Japanese girl growing up on The Big Island in the 1970s. It was a fast and sometimes funny, though not particularly memorable, book and neither particularly added or detracted from my trip.
A.J. Llewellyn
Jun 22, 2010 A.J. Llewellyn rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-a-copy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2008 April rated it it was amazing
Funny, heart-breaking and sometimes gritty recollections back to middle school years. So specific to the character, and yet I would think that most anyone would be able to relate. Vivid descriptions; I felt like I could see, hear, smell it all.
Noriko Nakada
Mar 22, 2008 Noriko Nakada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books about a young Japanese American girl coming of age in Hawaii. It's written in a very readable Hawaiian pidgin. My favorite chapter is "Obituary" and I use it with my students every year.
Claudia Goicoechea
Aug 04, 2008 Claudia Goicoechea rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was a great insite into the Hawaiian culture. It really took me back. Some stories are so familiar to my own upbringing. Maybe you will have the same experience and laugh hard too.
Katie M.
Feb 03, 2010 Katie M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Lois-Ann Yamanaka books pretty much jump out and smack you in the teeth as soon as you start reading them. A fierce, evocative novel about growing up Japanese-American in Hilo, Hawaii.
Sally Kinane
Kind of an interesting read but you really have to get into the Hawaiian pidgin. It somewhat follows a story line but life is brutal to the young lady who tells the story.
Dec 14, 2007 Dana rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
Shelves: fiction
an amazing, raw, touching coming-of-age story of a teen-age girl in Hawaii. The most fun you'll have with vernacular/pidgen since Huck Finn or Clockwork Orange!
Dec 13, 2008 Mika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book when I was twelve; pidgin is readable and adolescent/family/society-induced angst can still be powerful. so haters, to the left.
Jan 22, 2011 Sps rated it liked it

antes de leer:
Yips recommends. Apparently after reading it I'm to decide whether she should get a PhD in Hawaiian post-colonial literature.

Jun 13, 2009 Annie rated it really liked it
I have a feeling this one is going to stick with me for a while. Very moving and much darker than I expected.
Mar 21, 2008 Wendie rated it it was amazing
Hilarious. You will not stop laughing. Remember Donny Osmond and his purple socks? Just a little tease.
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Lois-Ann Yamanaka is the author of Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers, Blu's Hanging, Heads by Harry, Name Me Nobody, Father of the Four Passages, The Heart's Language, and Behold the Many. Her work has received numerous awards including the Hawai'i Award for Literature, the American Book Award, the Children's Choice for Literature, the Pushcart Prize for poetry, ...more
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