Susan Lieu
Event date: 
Friday, March 22, 2024 - 7:00pm
Featured Book: 
The Manicurist's Daughter: A Memoir




Copperfield’s Books is delighted to welcome Susan Lieu to Santa Rosa in celebration of her powerful debut - The Manicurist's Daughter: A Memoir

Susan will be in conversation with local educator Pamela Lind Devlin.

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.

This event is free and open to the public, please register below.

An emotionally raw memoir about the crumbling of the American Dream and a daughter of refugees who searches for answers after her mother dies during plastic surgery.

Susan Lieu has long been searching for answers. About her family’s past and about her own future. Refugees from the Vietnam War, Susan’s family escaped to California in the 1980s after five failed attempts. Upon arrival, Susan’s mother was their savvy, charismatic North Star, setting up two successful nail salons and orchestrating every success―until Susan was eleven. That year, her mother died from a botched tummy tuck. After the funeral, no one was ever allowed to talk about her or what had happened.

For the next twenty years, Susan navigated a series of cascading questions alone―why did the most perfect person in her life want to change her body? Why would no one tell her about her mother’s life in Vietnam? And how did this surgeon, who preyed on Vietnamese immigrants, go on operating after her mother’s death? Sifting through depositions, tracking down the surgeon’s family, and enlisting the help of spirit channelers, Susan uncovers the painful truth of her mother, herself, and the impossible ideal of beauty.

The Manicurist’s Daughter is much more than a memoir about grief, trauma, and body image. It is a story of fierce determination, strength in shared culture, and finding your place in the world.


  •  6 Books for Lunar New Year by The Los Angeles Times
  •  One of Apple Books March Pick of the Month, Audiobook Must Listen of the Month 
  •  Elle Magazine's Best Nonfiction Books of 2024 
  •  Goodreads Members' 63 Most Anticipated Books of 2024, one of eleven nonfiction titles, alongside the memoirs of RuPaul and Salman Rushdie
  •  75 Books By Women of Color to Read in 2024 by Electric Literature 
  •  6 Books for Lunar New Year by The Los Angeles Times


Author: Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese-American author, playwright, and performer who tells stories that refuse to be forgotten. A daughter of nail salon workers, she took her autobiographical solo theater show 140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother on a 10-city national tour with sold out premieres and accolades from L.A. Times, NPR, and American Theatre. Eight months pregnant, she premiered her sequel Over 140 LBS as the headliner for ACT Theatre’s SoloFest. Within one year she held 60 performances to over 7,000 people. Her award-winning work has been featured at Bumbershoot, Wing Luke Museum, The Moth Mainstage, On The Boards, The World Economic Forum, RISK!, CAATA ConFest, Viet Film Fest, and she has spoken at more than a dozen universities around the country. 

She serves as an Artists Up mentor, Artist Trust instructor, co-host of The Model Minority Moms podcast, and board member for international NGO Asylum Access. As an activist, she worked with Consumer Watchdog to pass a law to raise medical malpractice caps. Susan and her sister co-founded Socola Chocolatier, an artisanal chocolate company based in San Francisco. She is a proud alumnus of Harvard College, Yale School of Management, Coro, Hedgebrook, Mineral School, Millay Arts, and Vashon Artist Residency. 

Susan lives with her husband and son in Seattle where they enjoy mushroom hunting, croissants, and big family gatherings. The Manicurist’s Daughter is her first book. Follow her on instagram @susanlieu.

Pamela Lind Devlin is an educator, who has worked locally for the last four decades; she has taught every grade 7-12 and all ability levels… from beginning classes for English language learners to Advanced Placement English Literature as well as Beginning and Advanced Film Study. In 1991 she was selected as Sonoma County’s Teacher of the Year. In addition, during her thirty-one year tenure with Santa Rosa City Schools, she was both a district and site administrator, most notably as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction 7-12 and as the Founding Principal of Maria Carrillo High School; it was in the latter role where she came to know well tonight’s author Susan Lieu during her four years there as a student. For the last seven years she has worked part time as an Instructor and as a Practicum Supervisor at the North Coast School of Education, teaching and mentoring interns just entering the profession.

She lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Joe (a retired English and film teacher) and their rescue mutt Lola. She enjoys cooking for family and friends, attending lectures, viewing films, and reading books (she has been a member of a book club for 38 years!)


Event Location: 
Maria Carrillo High School
6975 Montecito Blvd
Santa Rosa, Ca
The Manicurist's Daughter: A Memoir By Susan Lieu Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250835048
Availability: Available online. Call stores for local availability.
Published: Celadon Books - March 12th, 2024


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