The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do

“A book to break your heart and heal it.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer   ? 4 starred reviews ? Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness   An ABA Indies Introduce Winter/ Spring 2017 Selection   A Summer 2017 Indie Next Selection Now in paperback, Thi Bui’s critically acclaimed and beautifully illustrated story of her family’s journey from their war-torn home in Vietna...

Details The Best We Could Do

TitleThe Best We Could Do
Release DateApr 17th, 2018
PublisherAbrams ComicArts
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Comics, Biography, History, Adult, War, Graphic Novels Comics, Biography Memoir

Reviews The Best We Could Do

  • Mischenko
    This book is featured on Throwback Thursday @ picked this up from Netgalley as soon as I learned about it. I love reading graphic novels and this one piqued my interest after reading the blurb. I had already read A Different Pond with my kids and loved that one, so I had a good feeling about The Best We Could Do. This is an extremely moving graphic novel about a family’s immigration from Vietnam and how...
  • Nat
    The Best We Could Do brings to life author Thi Bui’s search for a better future while longing for a simpler past. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family.Alternating between the present, Bui's own childhood in California, and the lives of her parents amid the chaos of the Vietnam War, Bui explores the saga of her country while t...
  • Elyse
    I still remember how I felt the first time I read the graphic memoir "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant", by Roz Chast. I wanted the world to read it... I laughed. I cried. I laughed and cried at the same time! And by the way.... I felt it should be required reading for anyone who had aging parents! Both my parents were dead - and I still got value 'as' a mother: not wanting to leave my own daughters a mess to deal with after I die. Roz...
  • Taryn
    Empathetic, honest, and emotional. A gorgeously illustrated memoir of a woman who looks to the past to understand her parents and her complicated relationship with them. In 1978, Thi Bui's parents fled South Vietnam with three young children and one on the way. The Best We Could Do tells the story of them growing up in Vietnam, raising a family in the midst of the Vietnam War, their harrowing nighttime escape by boat, and the difficulties of star...
  • Sam
    A heartfelt, engaging, comprehensive illustrated memoir, The Best We Could Do really blew me away. I do not gravitate towards graphic novels as a format, but this book completely hooked me from the opening panels as Thi Bui embarks on her own journey of motherhood for the first time, and seeks to close the gap between herself and her parents by better understanding where she comes from and their own stories. She does incredible amounts of researc...
  • David Schaafsma
    I read this graphic memoir in one sitting and found it affecting as a story and lovely to look at. It's a story that is familiar, the desire to understand the past of one's parents, and in becoming a parent, finding yourself in a better place to do so. Her parents divorced, but to help her understand the past, and tell the tale, they came together to help her. She did lots of secondary research in addition to talking with her parents.And since it...
  • Tatiana
    3.5 starsI really liked the art and I definitely learned a lot about Vietnam's history.However it's a memoir. And, unfortunately, like with many memoirs, I often felt the author didn't dig deep enough or was reluctant to tell the whole truth (probably to, understandably, not hurt her parents). For all author's anger against her parents, she never quite articulated why she felt it. The narrative also was often unclear about certain events, especia...
  • Thomas
    Such an important and empathetic graphic memoir about Thi Bui's journey to understand her Vietnamese family and their immigration to the United States from South Vietnam. The Best We Could Do begins with Bui's foray into motherhood and how it reminds her of her mother's story and sacrifices. To cultivate a deeper comprehension of her family's past, she interviews her parents, travels back to Vietnam, and spends tons of time learning about the his...
  • Mariah
    This was a great autobiography graphic novel. The author talked about her parents leaving war-torn Vietnam and moving to the USA. This also shared the daughter's story of growing up an immigrant and very poor.This is definitely worth a read!
  • Dianne
    Well done graphic novel by a woman who came to the US with her family as Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon. Thi Bui reconstructs her parents' paths from their childhoods to where/who they are now, and muses on how their respective pasts have shaped her own life.Interesting and beautifully illustrated. I especially loved everything having to do with her father. Just.....for some reason, it did not resonate with me or emotionally engage ...
  • Nelson Zagalo
    Passada toda uma pré-adolescência a ver filmes americanos sobre o Vietname, que mostravam os bons americanos e as suas façanhas e todo o seu altruísmo heróico contra os maus, os "vietcongues", sempre prontos a matar e a fazer explodir os indefesos e os soldados (“The Deer Hunter”, (1978), “Apocalypse Now” (1979), “Missing in Action” (1984), “Rambo” (1985), “Platoon” (1986), “Good Morning Vietnam” (1987), “Full Metal...
  • Suzy
    Thi Bui fled Vietnam in 1978 with her mother, father and 3 siblings when she was a young girl. Now an adult with a child of her own, she is worried she will pass on to her son the pain and sadness of her parents from a lifetime of war, abandonment, poverty and dislocation. This is a poignant and powerful story of one family’s immigration told beautifully through Thi’s illustrations. Having just written “beautifully”, that word does not su...
  • Hristina
    The Best We Could Do features artwork so beautiful and story so intimate that I couldn't put it down. Thi Bui takes the reader along for a journey as she explores her family history and her relationships with her parents. The story is told in a relatable manner, it's poignant and it's easy to connect to (at least it was to me).The story revolves around a Vietnamese family that escapes the war and immigrates to the US in the 70s. It depicts the st...
  • Jenna
    I read this book in one sitting (breathless, emotionally turned inside-out) and you should too.Bui's family is different from mine in many ways, but I still experienced a sense of recognition on every page, as if her family life had been stitched together from patchwork pieces of mine, or vice versa. It's Thi Bui's truth, but I think it's a lot of other people's truth, too -- I won't use the word "universal," which I mistrust, but it has a sense ...
  • Louise
    This ranks up with the graphic bio Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood which sets a high bar for this genre.Americans to not always recognize that each immigrant has a back story. Many are survival stories like this one. This is a quick powerful read.
  • Laurent
    Prachtige en aangrijpende familiekroniek over een Vietnamese bootvluchtelinge. Sterke grafiek, originele vertelstijl.
  • Lily
    This was beautiful, empathetic, harrowing at times, and incredibly brave. Thi Bui, in recounting the lives of her parents and their parents throughout Vietnam's tumultuous history, presents a fresh, new voice in the realm of Vietnamese-American non-fiction. Everyone should read this.
  • Theresa
    This is not just a book, this is an experience.This graphic memoir details the author's family's life, both in Vietnam itself as well as their eventual escape to the US during the war.It is a very personal piece of work, that delves not only in her family history but also explains how that history has shaped her entire family, particularly her parents, in the present.It deals with the topic of immigration, of how growing up in two cultures with v...
  • Hameed Younis
    كتاب رائع، صادق، سحريوالجميل فيه انه كوميك، والاجمل من كل ما سبق انه سيرة ذاتيةيحكي الكتاب قصة ثلاثة اجيال من فيتنام عاشروا الحروب منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية مروراً بالثورة الشيوعية وتقسيم فيتنام حتى حرب امريكاخمس نجمات دون تردد
  • Xueting
    This graphic novel-memoir was so honestly written, I could feel the author herself growing and learning in the process of both the story and the storytelling. It was very interesting to learn more about Vietnam history, especially from a specific and personal point of view, and compare it to what I have learnt about it in school and in the media. There were lots of intense emotions behind the story too, mostly coming from Thi herself, that I coul...
  • Stewart Tame
    A lovely story of a Vietnamese family. Through their story, we also get a look at the history of the country up until shortly after the fall of Saigon when they fled the country to the US. Through her parents' stories, Bui comes to understand her own childhood growing up in America better. The artwork is lush and moving--it's hard to believe that this is her first graphic novel. Autobiography and biography proliferate on the GN shelves, but this ...
  • Vanessa (splitreads)
    I enjoyed aspects of this graphic memoir, including the illustrations and the focus on Vietnam. I think the narrative and overall message needed a little more work. I feel like this wanted to describe how becoming a parent is difficult and revealed to Bui a new understanding about her own parents. Ultimately I was confused as to what Bui wanted to drive home to us about her parents' failures and disappointments. I felt some issues weren't tackled...
  • Shenwei
    deeply touching and complex
  • Jolien
    Review first published on my blog The Fictional ReaderWhen I saw this on Netgalley, I immediately wanted it. Not only do I want to read more graphic novels, I also want to read more non-fiction and diverse (+own voices) books. This graphic memoir combines all three into one spectacular book.I think this is the type of (non fiction) book I would recommend to everyone. Here’s why: - Because this is an illustrated memoir, it is very easy to read. ...
  • Lianne - Literary Diversions
    I absolutely fell in love with this graphic memoir. I cannot believe how masterfully simple and yet emotionally complex Thi Bui's writing is; she employs such an intense economy of language that I would never have suspected she would be able to convey so tangled an identity in so few words. She lays bare the very knotted thoughts of a young Vietnamese girl who never felt proud, never felt good enough for either of her cultures and who struggled t...
  • pi
    "The best we could do" is a graphic memoir about a family forced to leave their country in order to get a better life, searching for a better future. It's a graphic novel that talks about the war in Vietnam but, most of all, this is a story about family. It talks about the difficulties they face before and after the displacement: all the sacrifices; the struggle of finding their own identity, or understanding the meaning of home; all the things p...
  • Skip
    This is author Thi Bui's personal story, tracing her and her family's flight from Vietnam. The graphic novel format was a non-standard medium, and the pictures are well done. This is a story of Vietnam and its unvarnished history during a tumultuous period as well as the story of her family from Vietnam and herself. There is a balance of happiness and misery. Personally, I did not find the birth of her child to be an effective event tying togethe...
  • MissFabularian
    Absolutely stunning...
  • Penny
    Really good.
  • Peacegal
    THE BEST WE COULD DO really shines when it explores the author's parents' experiences on either side of the wealth divide in their home country of Vietnam and their harrowing journeys in a war-torn country. In my opinion, the rapid shifts between time and place could be jarring. The story is bookended by the author's own (awful-sounding) experience of labor and birth, and as is so often the case, just made me cringe and feel thankful I opted out ...