Not only is The Best We Could Do a beautiful story about family; it is also a great overview of the history of Vietnam. Thi Bui is about to have a child of her own, so she sets out to try to understand her parents and their history. Their stories of living in a war-torn country are full of struggle and loss and hope as they escape to the United States, where they strive to start their lives over. I highly recommend this moving memoir. Recommended By Jennifer H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 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.
"The Best We Could Do lands with the force of a blow and the strength of a mountain. Thi Bui offers an all-too-rarely-seen Vietnamese perspective on our war there, and a view of Vietnamese history that makes this book essential reading for anyone who seeks to go deep into this subject. At once intimate and sweeping in its portrayal of human experience, The Best We Could Do made me weep." Leela Corman, author and illustrator of Unterzakhn
"She does not spare her loved ones criticism or linger needlessly on their flaws. Likewise she refuses to flatten the twists and turns of their histories into neat, linear narratives. She embraces the whole of it… In this mélange of comedy and tragedy, family love and brokenness, she finds beauty." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Be prepared to take your heart on an emotional roller-coaster journey with this thought-provoking account that completely satisfies as the story comes full circle. Highly recommended for teens and adults; an excellent choice for book clubs." Library Journal online (Starred Review)
"Thi Bui’s stark, compelling memoir is about an ordinary family, but her story delivers the painful truth that most Vietnamese of the 20th century know in an utterly personal fashion — that history is found in the marrow of one’s bones, ready to be passed on through blood, through generations, through feelings. A book to break your heart and heal it." Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist
About the Author
Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as a child. She studied art and law and thought about becoming a civil rights lawyer, but became a public school teacher instead. Bui lives in Berkeley, California, with her son, her husband, and her mother. The Best We Could Do is her debut graphic novel.