Dear Friends, Family, and Colleagues,
My latest book, The Showgirl and the Writer: A Friendship Forged in the Aftermath of the Japanese American Incarceration was published in July of this year by Peace Corps Writers, an Imprint of Peace Corps Worldwide. I am grateful to many of you who have read, reviewed, and referred the book to potential readers.
For others, The Showgirl and the Writer is a hybrid memoir/biography about my long friendship with Mary Mon Toy, a Nisei performer who had been forcibly removed from her home to an American concentration camp in Idaho during WWII. Our underlying bond was the incarceration of Japanese Americans; I was born in the Tule Lake Japanese American high security camp in California where my Caucasian parents had volunteered to work.
This book has been a labor of love, a personal and political journey. When I learned upon Mary’s death in 2010 that she had been keeping a secret, after she was released from the camp, about her Japanese heritage for over fifty years, I decided I had to know why.
And thus, my extensive and complex research into her life and my own history vis a vis one of America’s great crimes against democracy, the imprisonment of a people based on their race and ethnicity. The result is this book that I hope will inform readers about this shameful history through the individual experiences of two women, one a Japanese American performer and the other a Jewish American writer. I expect you’ll even be entertained along the way.
Mysterious, moving, and heartfelt, The Showgirl and the Writer, expands our limited knowledge of Japanese American mainstream performing artists, the lingering effects of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, as well as the impact even on non-Japanese families who tried to be allies.
~ Brian Niiya, editor of the Densho Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia of Japanese American History
With Warm Regards,
Marnie Mueller combines memoir and biography in this haunting story, which intertwines two lives scarred by the shameful history of the Japanese American internment camps during World War II. Mary Mon Toy, the vivacious showgirl, has secrets that only Mueller, with her own deep connection to the same history, can slowly uncover — secrets that lead the writer to a new understanding of her own past. A fascinating book and a brave one!
Susan Quinn, author of “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady”
(Penguin Random House)