Friday, August 14, 2009

Short Girls by Bich Minh Nguyen

Short Girls is the story of two sisters, Van and Linny, and how they are each defined in some part by their Vietnamese heritage. The book contrasts the sisters - Van who is studious and determined versus Linny who is flirtatious and fashion conscious, they are the age old good girl/bad girl, except that the book is too good for the author to leave it there and they are both fleshed out with great detail. As the book alternates viewpoints between the sisters, we learn their stories and see their relationship evolve. There is also the contrast between their parents, first generation immigrants, and the daughters who were born in the States and are essentially American but can still feel like outsiders. Each parent has their own way of handling their immersion in America and the differences there provide some of the book's more lighthearted moments.

I enjoyed Short Girls. Once I started I didn't want to put it down because I wanted the whole story revealed. Nguyen writes with a very authentic sounding voice about the experience of being considered foreign in your own home; it made me curious about her as a person. I had all my questions answered at her website - The site's Q&A with Bich was interesting reading and now I am eager to get a look at her memoir, Stealing Buddha's Dinner.

I read this book for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.


bermudaonion said...

I love a good immigrant story and this sounds like one! Great review.

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