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The Manicurist’s Daughter: A Memoir

The Manicurist’s Daughter: A Memoir

Author Susan Lieu
Publisher Celadon Books
Publication Date 2024-03-12
Section New Hardcover - Biography / New Hardcover - Fiction
Type New
Format Hardccover
ISBN 9781250835048

In The Manicurist’s Daughter, an emotionally raw memoir, Susan Lieu faces her family’s harrowing story: Vietnamese refugees who open two nail salons, well on their way to the American Dream, only to lose their inimitable matriarch after a routine plastic surgery operation goes horribly awry.

Susan Lieu has long been searching for answers. About her family’s past, and about her own future. Refugees from the Vietnam War, Susan’s family escaped to California in the 1980s after five failed attempts. Upon arrival, they became experts at the “refugee hustle.” Susan’s mother was their savvy, beautiful, charismatic north star. She pulled them out of poverty and orchestrated every success. Until Susan was eleven. That year, her mother died as a result of negligence during a routine plastic surgery…seeking beauty treatments she didn’t need.

After her mom’s death, Susan was expected to go back to school as if nothing happened. Within her family, there was no shared grief or emotional outpouring. For the next 20 years, Susan navigated a series of cascading questions alone—why did the most perfect person in her life feel the need to change her body? Why would no one tell her about her mother’s life in Vietnam? How could she manage the same cultural pressures her mother faced, and succumbed to, in her own life, within her own body? And how did this surgeon, who preyed on Vietnamese immigrants, go on to continue operating for years after her mother’s death?

The Manicurist’s Daughter is much more than a memoir about grief, trauma, and body image. It is a story of fierce determination, strength in shared culture, and finding your place in the world. Susan Lieu is the daughter of manicurists. She is the daughter of survivors and the inheritor of all they faced to reach a better life. She finds her strength in her family’s story, and she will continue to build on that foundation for future generations.

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