The Best We Could Do
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.
"How much of ME is my own and how much is stamped into my blood and bone, predestined?" Posed at the end of Thi Bui's graphic memoir, this is the persistent, yearning question underlying this quietly heartbreaking book. Thi Bui chronicles her family's journey from Vietnam to America, as well as her own transformation from daughter to mother. Stunningly self-assured, this is epic, intimate history rendered in understated words and images" -- Kate Tuttle, Vulture 'a masterpiece' -- Sara Farizan, The Boston Globe online "The book was by many accounts one of the best of 2017, weaving deeply personal stories together with the history and context required to fully understand them." -- Paste "..beautifully illustrated and emotional..." -- School Library Journal online "The Best We Could Do has been compared to Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis for its heart-wrenchingly honest, sometimes humorous, and deeply personal account of what it means to rescue life from the debris of loss." -- Buzzfeed News "In The Best We Could Do, Bui poignantly depicts her parents' journey and struggle from war-torn Vietnam in comic form-and it's one book you can't miss." Medium "This is a stunning graphic novel that is not only enjoyable but important. It's a memoir about Thi's story of immigration, family, and hardship. It is a book that proves yet again how powerful the graphic novel medium can be in creating empathy and understanding." Tillie Walden, author of On a Sunbeam' "In telling the story of her childhood in the U.S. and, later, the birth of her son, Bui explores her relationship with her mother and father, reflecting on how their experiences shaped them as individuals." The Chicago Reader online "...a cinematic epic, following several generations through the travails of immigration and emotional dislocation." PBS NewsHour Online "The book delves as much into her family's history as it does Vietnam's; traumatic things her parents had seen as children and young adults in the years before and during the war... For now, she's reconciled her story with her parents' - and she says hopes her book can provide a starting point for others to do the same." All Things Considered, NPR
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