The Best We Could Do
An Illustrated Memoir
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
2017 National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Finalist
ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection
ALA 2018 Notable Books Selection
An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui.
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
What's New in Version 3.1
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A beautiful story
[I am choosing to review this graphic novel voluntarily after I received it from Abrams books as part of a giveaway]
"The struggle to bring life into this world is rewarded by [the cry of a baby]. It is a single minded effort uncluttered and clear in it's objective. What follows afterward- that is, the rest of the child's life - is another story."
Thi Bui and her family were refugees from Vietnam at the end of the War. Through her drawings and writing which she began in order to understand her roots in the story of her parents, the heartbreaking descriptions of fleeing her homeland and the hope for a better life in a country who was in part the reason she had to flee to be able to have a chance of any kind.
This is the story of Bui and her family and how they diligently survived in Vietnam and escaped to America. It is seen and told through the eyes of a woman with a son of her own who began to understand just what survival and thriving is to a refugee family cobbled together and torn apart by conflicts both public and private over life spans is a labyrinth of war and peace, money and poverty, mercy and anger.
Sparse prose and beautiful drawn graphics haunt the reader as the story unfolds and reflects courage and despair. The cover calls this book "an illustrated memoir" that her publisher presents in lovely format. This is a much different kind of graphic memory that will stay with you in its simplicity and haunt you with its beauty. 4 stars