Title: Pioneer Girl
Author: Bich Minh Nguyen
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Family, Literature
Publisher: Viking Adult; Penguin Group
Publication Date: February 6, 2014; January 27, 2015
Source: eARC from Netgalley
I’d already introduced this book on my previous post.
Historical fiction and I don’t seem to get along although I am
poorly working on that. Literature and I aren’t also buddies so I am surprised I liked this book. The plot is fairly simple. What captured my interest was the mystery — of Rose Wilder Lane’s and Lee’s lives — and how the author was able to link their stories. I haven’t yet experienced a long term obsession with an object, a subject, a person, or anything, really, so I could not relate to Lee’s obsession to uncover the story behind the golden pin, which was what started it all. Ages ago in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), a white American woman named Rose used to visit Lee’s grandfather Ong Hai‘s cafe. On her last visit, she left behind the golden pin. Lee’s grandfather and her mother kept it and brought it with them when they fled to America. This story was a family thing because Rose was remarkable to Ong Hai and Lee’s mother.
Fast forward to when Lee’s jobless with a Ph.D. (at 25?) and she returns to her mother’s house and helps out in their cafe. Lee and her mother doesn’t have the best relationship. Her mother didn’t want her to pursue a degree in English literature since, according to her, it’s practically useless. Lee’s already stressful about her jobless life and her elder brother returns home only to cause more problems in their household. This then leads to her continue working on the mysterious Rose Wilder Lane case and her possible connection to the golden pin. I admit, researching on someone’s life, dedicating almost all of my time to find some answers seemed a bit ridiculous. However, for Lee and for other people like her, it’s not. It’s actually what they do for a living. That kind of job is ridiculously stressful and I salute all of these people for their works.
Anyway, Lee and her brother drifted apart during some time. What I didn’t like about this book was how they weren’t able to properly reconcile. Although realistic, I felt like they could’ve found some ways to put aside their differences and return to how they used to be when they were kids. I also didn’t like how Lee and her mother were both frustratingly stubborn. They were so much alike that they just couldn’t get along. I understand that each family is not the same with another but since I am blessed with a loving family, I felt so frustrated. Whenever they fought, I just wanted to go in there smack their heads together! Also, I didn’t like how Lee was so focused on Rose Wilder Lane that she kind of forgot to live her own life.
Those aside, I think this is a good book and has a lot of moral lessons. I liked the flow of the story as well as the ending. Do I recommend it? Yes!
On another note, since Penguin is releasing Pioneer Girl on January 27th, Ms. Rebecca Lang of Penguin Books Publicity has offered a paperback copy to give away.
- Open to US residents only.
- Participants must at least be 13 years old and above because of mild language content and sexual references.
- Participants must have their parents’ consent to enter and provide their personal information.
- I will not be held responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged item during the transit.
- I reserve the right to end or extend the giveaway without notice.
- Earn some entries in the rafflecopter giveaway linked below.