Pioneer Girl #Giveaway

by Jennifer


5M4B disclosure

pioneer girlI couldn’t resist the pitch for Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl: A Novel, the story of an interesting connection between a Vietnamese immigrant family and Rose Wilder Lane. Fans of Little House on the Prairie, owners of the boxed set (either pale blue like mine or pale yellow if you are a bit younger than I) will be charmed by parts of this book.

I was. I loved the specific details that were recalled from the stories, and remember them like I read them yesterday, not 30 years ago. But it wasn’t quite enough. In fact, the memoir The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie gave me those same feelings, but in a more cohesive unit. This “novel” felt derivative of that.

I put novel in quotes because it really reads like a memoir, from the long ambling passages about life in the Chinese buffet business, to her scholarly research, I kept wondering “How much of this is real?” But because it wasn’t firmly in either camp, I think the work suffered as a whole.

Fans of memoir — as I am — might like it. Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder and/or Rose Wilder Lane will enjoy sharing the pages with a fellow fan. The story about Lee, a Vietnamese doctoral candidate, struggling between family roots and living her own life, is interesting as well. The secondary characters like her mother, brother, and grandfather, are well drawn.

I am hovering between 2 and 3 stars. For me, it was ultimately somewhat unsatisfying and I felt it straddled the genres of fiction and memoir without enough clarification. Even though it is written and sold as fiction, it feels very much like a project memoir, and I felt that discoveries made within the novel should have been clarified at the end. Most historical fiction that I’ve read that deals with real people will clarify what is based on fact or folklore and what is pure speculation.

Win it!

Are you a fan of immigrant literature or Little House on the Prairie? Or perhaps a fan of Bich Minh Nguyen’s other works? Enter to win by telling me which part of this story interests you more.

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Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer

Jennifer lives in Houston with her family. In addition to reading, she enjoys travel, Bible study, food, and fun. She blogs about some of these things -- when her nose isn't in a book -- at Snapshot.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 anne February 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm

What interests me the most is reading about the immigrant experience.


2 Carrie February 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

That is a difficult question. I’m a history girl so I really love both the Little House and immigration aspects of this.


3 Barbara H. February 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm

I’m more interested in the Little House connection. I’ve never read Bich Minh Nguyen, but I am curious about what connection there could be between an immigrant and Little House.


4 Patricia February 19, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I’m really interested in the immigrant aspect of the story.


5 Jordan February 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm

The tie in with Little House makes it really great!


6 Heather B February 20, 2014 at 8:25 am

I like the sounds of both but especially the Immigrant theme.


7 rhonda February 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

I find the story of an immigrant connecting so strongly to an iconic American story like little house on the prairie both charming &fascinating


8 Katie February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

Honestly, I love both immigrant literature and Little House on the Prairie, so this sounds like a great book!


9 Kate I. February 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I was initially attracted by the Little House connection, but find the immigrant theme intriguing because of my own family history.


10 Vickie Couturier February 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Little house for sure,,we like the series


11 Anita Yancey February 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I am more drawn to the Little House tie-in. I loved that show.


12 Nancy February 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I am a fan of the Little House books and their tie ins.


13 Nancy February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I entered the giveaway for the Very Hungry Caterpillar.


14 Ronda February 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm

I am interested in the Little House tie-in.


15 Renee Smith February 25, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I like both themes. I grew up reading little house on the prairie books and I find books about struggles the immigrants went thru very interesting.


16 Heidi February 28, 2014 at 1:42 am

The Little House tie-in. I adore those books!


17 kort March 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

i’m interested in both actually!


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