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Mimi And Her Mirror by [Duong, Uyen Nicole]
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Mimi And Her Mirror Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mimi and Her Mirror is a powerful saga from a writer of talent giving voice to people from one of the most successful immigrant communities in American history. This is a book that should be read." --Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

"Duong writes with a delicate sensuality that allows her readers to inhabit the skin of her characters. Her story makes us reconsider the subtle forces that shaped USVietnamese history." -- June Cross, author of Secret Daughter and Associate Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

About the Author

Vietnam-born Uyen Nicole Duong arrived in the United States at the age of sixteen, a political refugee from a country torn apart by war. She received a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Journalism from Southern Illinois University, a law degree from the University of Houston, and the advanced LLM degree from Harvard. She also completed work at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena. She has been a journalist, public education administrator, attorney, law professor, and a self-taught painter whose work focuses on l’Art Brut. The author resides in Houston, Texas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1462 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935597302
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (June 14, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 14, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004519PF6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,454 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William G. Pratt VINE VOICE on May 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Mimi And Her Mirror" is the sequel to Duong's "Daughters Of The River Huong". This time, the story focuses on Mimi, the sister of the main character in the first book. Despite this sequel's repeated (almost obsessive) sexual license, I did find it more engaging than the first book. Mimi's character is delved into on a much more personal level than Simone's was in the first book. This is a story of a woman who worked her way to (near) the top after having escaped Saigon as an adolescent. Along the way, we read of the events that shaped her growth - from her traumatic first sexual experience at a young age, through her asexual hyperintellectualism in college, to her hypersexual fixation as an adult.
I'm not sure if it's because the first book sets the reader up for this, but I found the back-and-forth nature of the timeline much more easy to follow here than in "Daughters Of The River Huong". It seems to me as if Duong's writing has tightened up some as she writes more, since the descriptions and plot unfoldment flow much more smoothly this time around.
I would have given this book 5 stars if it weren't for the fact that the ending leaves much to be desired - towards the end of the first half of the book, Mimi starts telling the story of her mirror to Simone and that is where the rest of the book picks up from. This is never resolved! The book continues on and we never see Simone's reaction to her sister's tale (including the traumatic experience in Saigon which rivals Simone's own), or are even sure where in the timeline their meeting falls. This is a major drawback, as Duong sets it up for a storytelling but gives no reaction from the audience - it's as if she forgot about that part of the story and rushed the book to print!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is much more interesting than the description on Amazon. It's true that the title is Mimi and Her Mirror, but this is not a book about a magical mirror. This book is about a Vietnamese woman who arrives in America in her teens, and her experiences from college through to adulthood. It's also about following your dreams. There is a slight mystical element introduced by the mirror, but it is not the focus of the book. It's about finding your way in adulthood, and finding your way in and out of love. The story is tied to Vietnam, but takes place almost entirely in America.

It is nominally related to this author's other book - Daughters of the River Huong. However, I do not think you would need to read both books in order to appreciate them individually. I really liked this book, possibly more than the first. There was something about how it tied together, like a flower slowly opening and closing, revealing the interior petals slowly. In fact, twice, I couldn't stop reading because I was so engaged in the story and wanted to know what would happen next. When I finished the book, I paged back through it, reviewing what I had read, and thinking about it. I love how the writer writes with all of her senses, so that you can smell and taste as well as look and hear. The writing is so visceral that it's hard to forget; it appeared later in my dreams.

The scope is small - one woman's life, one woman's decisions, one woman's secret. For that reason, this book feels very complete - very well tied together.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Upfront I will state that I enjoy a good "immigrant-experience" story or memoir. I married an immigrant, my children married immigrants and I myself am only a second-generation American, as opposed to my next-door neighbor, who views her DAR status as quite the accomplishment on her part.

However, this particular immigrant's story fell flat for me and that's a shame because taking all the parts of it into account, the whole should have been an inspiring, heartfelt tale of overcoming adversities. There are two main reasons I didn't like this and it actually boils down to one: the writing.

Reason #1: The author did not make her character likeable. Mimi comes across as self-absorbed, self-centered and introspective without that introspection leading her to many breakthroughs and insights about herself, other than the fact that she doesn't really like the career she's chosen.

Reason #2: The execution of Mimi's story is awkward, choppy, repetitive, and so exasperating that I was taken out of my emotional state too many times to fully enjoy, appreciate or sympathize with Mimi's experiences.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this second book in this series first and really enjoyed about the first two thirds of the book. But when we jumped to her life as a 40 year old woman and the betrayal of the man she is dating, the whole book started to spin out of control. At times it read like a legal procedural, with endless details about conflicts of interest and covering up for a less than ethical client, and how her boss tries to manipulate her.
Her flashback to the night she and her family got out of Saigon as it fell seems endless also. The details are relentless and go on for page after grim page.
The boyfriend's betrayal is melodramatic, as is her reaction to it. All the plotting and scheming is presumably supposed to make us interested in the ending of the book, but it pretty much leaves us hanging and wondering how the whole makes any sense given the odd sum of its parts.
I have a feeling that she will be writing a third book about the brother's experiences, which might tie up loose ends, but at the end of this book I feel sadly disappointed, thinking I was going on a wonderful journey, only for the trip to end in such a muddle.
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