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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

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  156 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
"Witty, original, and authentic. A fresh,
young Chinese-American voice."
--Adeline Yen Mah,
author of Falling Leaves

As the daughter of a Chinese-American mother and a Norwegian father, Paisley Rekdal grew up wondering where she fit in. The essays in this, her shimmering nonfiction debut, tackle thorny issues--race and identity politics, interracial desire, what it means to
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2000)
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Joyce Pavao
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
great fun identity book
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ms. G
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I totally relate to so many of the stories in this book from my experiences in Thailand. This book inspired me to continue writing my own story.
Charlotte Piwowar
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With witty and engaging prose, "The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee" is an incredible reflection on racial identity. Each chapter jumps to a different moment in the author's life, and so feels like a collection of memories, with each one connected through the theme of "not fitting in," as the title suggests. Even though it jumps through in this non-linear fashion, the author keeps it all together through that common thread, and includes a few concluding thoughts about what it means to be mixed rac ...more
Bryn (Plus Others)
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essays, not-finishing
I love Rekdal's poetry, but this essay collection is not doing it for me -- it is very flat, monotone, everything grey and grim, but even more than all of that, it feels so much like a product of a particular school of writing. I don't find anything personal in the pieces, no spark, nothing catches fire, which is a very large contrast to her intense, colourful, passionate poetry. I wonder if she wrote these essays now if they would have that same sense of flatness to them? I was about to write ' ...more
Shin Yu
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Would give it 3.5; my default rating. Writes well and often evocative. But choppy; overly long descriptions; not sure where she's going with the book other than obsessing over her race. Does not appear to be a particularly nice person. Pretty self involved.
Tara Outman
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I found the writing style and insights largely uneven though beautiful at times. Although frequent chapter breaks make for easy reading, the book would be served by a more structured organizing principle. Though this is memoir, Rekdal has the voice of a fiction writer with room to grow.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Disappointing read. I'd hoped for a memoir but this was a collection of essays.
Aug 19, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-and-memoir
Solid collection of essays - I'd be interested in reading more of her autobiographical stories.
Mike Davis
I thought the world of Bruce.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
prefer her poetry over her prose
Susan Skelly
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
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.
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Grainne Daly
rated it liked it
Oct 15, 2016
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Dec 31, 2014
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May 18, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Dec 02, 2008
rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2007
Gregory Donovan
rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2015
Cassie Pearson
rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2015
Natalie Jenks
rated it it was ok
Jan 16, 2010
Mary Zambales
rated it it was ok
Jan 02, 2014
Mary Alice
rated it liked it
May 03, 2017
Lauren Chow
rated it liked it
Feb 16, 2017
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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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