A wonderful Asian-American memoir

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Thank you to Bookishfirst and Celadon Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Manicurist's Daughter by Susan Lieu is an emotional, gripping memoir about the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who grew up in California in the 1980s. Her mother was a successful businesswoman who established several nail salons, but when Susan was 11, her mother died while getting a tummy tuck from a non-licensed doctor. In this memoir, the author goes through family history and court documents and expands on what she learned about the beauty industry and plastic surgery clinics in general.

Here is a gripping excerpt from the opening chapter:

"My mother was in an ambulance all alone when she was thirtyeight. A botched plastic surgery from a negligent surgeon. She went
without oxygen to her brain for fourteen minutes before he made the
9-1-1 call. Here I was, thirty-seven years old, about the same height
and weight as she was, also alone. I wasn’t ready to die. My son was
almost three. My mother died when I was eleven.
I started talking to my Creator. Give me until I’m sixty—wait, no,
seventy-­five. And I’m not ready yet. I have to publish this book! That was
my real answer. I didn’t say spare me because of my son. I wanted more
time so I could tell my family story. Guilt, then shame set in. Then it
was the pain that shocked me back to the present moment."

Overall, The Manicurist's Daughter is a memoir that I would recommend to any reader interested in Asian American memoirs or nonfiction books about the beauty industry. One highlight of this book is how open the author is to teling us what happened to her family. Instead of burying it away, she is telling us family secrets so that no woman will have to go through what the author went through. Another highlight of this book is how powerful of a story it is. I felt myself getting emotional while reading this book and feeling the author's grief while she goes searching for answers. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of memoirs in general, I highly recommend that you check out this book, which is available now!