Must-Read Book

Short Girls by Bich Minh Nguyen

Author Bich Minh Nguyen's 2007 memoir, Stealing Buddha's Dinner, detailed her life as a Vietnamese immigrant. In her debut novel, Short Girls, Nguyen follows a pair of sisters in their vexing search for careers, soul mates, belonging.

MC: How do the sisters, Van and Linny, wrestle with being second-generation immigrants?

BMN: They don't really know how Vietnamese they are—they're Americans, born here, but they're Vietnamese, too. So they struggle to figure it out. And because they look Asian, they're subject to stereotypes, like when Linny is assumed to be the manicure girl in a salon.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

MC: Has that ever happened to you?

BMN: If I go to the tailor to get my pants hemmed, often someone will come in and ask me a question, thinking I am the seamstress.

MC: Why are their career choices so labored?

BMN: Vietnamese-American parents push fields such as dentistry. Linny and Van avoid that, as if it will allow them independence. But there's a downside: feelings of guilt and shame, the sense of not meeting a familial obligation.

MC: You're only 5 feet tall—thus the title?

BMN: I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. People there are descended from tall Dutch immigrants, so I felt even shorter. And the comments were endless: "How's the weather down there?"

MC: Have you ever used any short-girl props, like the Mr. Long Arm extension pole?

BMN: No, but I want one badly!

Culture
Share
4 Women with 4 Very Different Incomes Open Up About the Lives They Can Afford
Tormund and Brienne on Game of Thrones
Culture
Share
Gwendoline Christie Breaks Her Silence About That Flirting on 'Game of Thrones'
Culture
Share
Watch This Tap Dancing Group's Flawless Tribute to Prince
Finding Dory
Culture
Share
Get Excited: Disney Movies Are Coming to Netflix
GIF
Culture
Share
Hero Woman Gets Back at Cheating Ex by Spoiling 'Game of Thrones' Every Monday Morning
Culture
Share
Meet This Year's (Totally Badass) Top Female Surfer
Game of Thrones Hodor
Culture
Share
The 'Game of Thrones' Cast Is Weighing In on Last Night's Heart-Wrenching Moment
Culture
Share
Your Monthly App Roundup: We Test All the New Ones So You Don't Have To
GIF
Culture
Share
Equal-Opportunity Ogling: 'Game of Thrones' Finally Showed Its First Penis
Culture
Share
The First 'Beauty and the Beast' Trailer Is Here, and It's Straight-Up Haunting