Pioneer Girl

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For years Lee Lien has kept the rigid expectations of her Vietnamese family at bay. It’s a tactic she’s practiced nearly her whole life, starting with her childhood escapes into books like Little House on the Prairie and extending through college. But now, jobless with a Ph.D. in literature, Lee finds herself right back at home in the Chicago suburbs, living the very life she and her brother, Sam, had vowed they’d avoid at all costs: working in their mother’s hard-won restaurant, beneath her hypercritical gaze.
For years Lee Lien has kept the rigid expectations of her Vietnamese family at bay. It’s a tactic she’s practiced nearly her whole life, starting with her childhood escapes into books like Little House on the Prairie and extending through college. But now, jobless with a Ph.D. in literature, Lee finds herself right back at home in the Chicago suburbs, living the very life she and her brother, Sam, had vowed they’d avoid at all costs: working in their mother’s hard-won restaurant, beneath her hypercritical gaze. When Sam suddenly vanishes, he leaves behind an object from their family’s past that stirs up a forgotten childhood dream: a gold-leaf brooch, abandoned by an American reporter in Saigon back in 1965, that just might be an heirloom of Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Lee explores this Tenuous connection, she unearths far more than expected – a trail of clues and enticements that lead her from dusty stacks of library archives to hilarious prairie life reenactments and ultimately to the farthest reaches of the American West, where her findings will transform strangers’ lives as well as her own. A dazzling literary mystery about the true origins of a time-tested classic, Pioneer Girl is also the deeply moving tale of a second-generation Vietnamese daughter, the parents she struggles to honor, and the missing brother she is expected to bring home – even as her discoveries yield dramatic insights that will free her to live her own life to its fullest potential. Few writers capture the escapist pleasures of our obsessions quite as powerfully as Bich Minh Nguyen. With Pioneer Girl, she delivers a tour de force that has the power to rerange our own connections with these hallmarks of American life.

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Weight 17.6 oz
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Good