Best We Could Do
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Best We Could Do : An Illustrated Memoir

4.37 (1,894 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Best We Could Do explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child. Thi Bui documents her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the diffiulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America. At the heart of Bui's story is a universal struggle: adjusting to life as a first-time mother. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, The Best We Could Do examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home, providing inspiration to all who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 175 x 234 x 34mm | 960g
  • Abrams
  • Abrams Comicarts
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2-colour illustrations throughout
  • 1419718770
  • 9781419718779
  • 27,114

Review quote

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" " The Best We Could Do "burns back the dead skin of public War memory. Underneath is the raw flesh of another kind of war story of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brutally intimate and intimately brutal. This book is a must-read. --Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis "The Asian American Literary Review, curator for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center "" Devastating and luminous. --Tom Hart "author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir "" 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 " "The Best We Could Do is a story of massive, sweeping scale told through quiet moments of complex emotion and intimacy. Thi Bui paints the portrait of a single family across three generations, as many continents, and thousands of panels without one false stroke of the brush. Her penetrating examination of family and identity is at once unsentimental and deeply felt, familiar and unlike any other graphic novel you have read. Comics don't get much better than The Best We could Do."--Jake Wyatt "author and illustrator of Necropolis and Ms. Marvel " "Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do is a nuanced, multilayered tribute to a family that has lost as much as it has gained. Bui interprets her family's demons with generosity and compassion, and she is keen to understand how the roots of trauma and conflict can grow decades later, thousands of miles away. Infused with Vietnam's tumultuous history, Bui's memoir reflects her family's experience against the larger context of war, poverty, and dislocation, and then pulls back, showing how these heavy matters affect life at home in the quieter days that follow. The Best We Could Do is a beautiful, affecting union of memoir and illustration."--Cecily Wong "author of Diamond Head: A Novel " "By knowing our parents' story we come to a better understanding of who we are; by living our own version of their story, that understanding is even deeper and more illuminating. In The Best We Could Do, Thi's exploration of becoming a mother in the shadow of her own parents' history is Thi drawing her past to write her future. It's a story that I--as a child turned parent myself--found emotional, introspective, and a cautionary tale of what we pass to our next generation."--GB Tran "author and illustrator of Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey " "Thi Bui's book took my breath away. In a time of continuing refugee crisis, its message is necessary. The Best We Could Do expands one family's personal story into a global, historic context, while condensing generations of war in Vietnam to intimate and human proportions. Beautiful and powerful."--Craig Thompson "author and illustrator of Blankets and Habibi " "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 " "With great mastery of writing and drawing, Thi Bui shows the consequences of war lasting from generation to generation. The Best We Could Do honors Vietnam the way Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis honors Iran. And it's fun to read too."--Maxine Hong Kingston "author of The Fifth Book of Peace and I Love a Broad Margin to My Life " "This bold, brutal book is the new calligraphy--an exquisite marriage of alphabet and imagery. Each sentence, each scene, and each story breaks down a country, a family, and a father. Then, frame by frame, with artistic vigor and monastic devotion, Thi Bui rebuilds a world in which guilt conquers grief and gratitude becomes not only a guide, but our new Deity. The Best We Could Do teaches us how to say no to fear and yes to truth."--Fae Myenne Ng "author of Bone, a PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist, Steer Toward Rock, winner of the American Book Award " "Devastating and luminous."--Tom Hart "author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir " "The Best We Could Do burns back the dead skin of public War memory. Underneath is the raw flesh of another kind of war story--of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brutally intimate and intimately brutal. This book is a must-read."--Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis "The Asian American Literary Review, curator for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center " Thi Bui s book took my breath away. In a time of continuing refugee crisis, its message is necessary. The Best We Could Do expands one family s personal story into a global, historic context, while condensing generations of war in Vietnam to intimate and human proportions. Beautiful and powerful. --Craig Thompson, "author and illustrator of Blankets and Habibi "" This bold, brutal book is the new calligraphy an exquisite marriage of alphabet and imagery. Each sentence, each scene, and each story breaks down a country, a family, and a father. Then, frame by frame, with artistic vigor and monastic devotion, Thi Bui rebuilds a world in which guilt conquers grief and gratitude becomes not only a guide, but our new Deity. The Best We Could Do teaches us how to say no to fear and yes to truth. --Fae Myenne Ng "author of Bone, a PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist, Steer Toward Rock, winner of the American Book Award "" Devastating and luminous. --Tom Hart "author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestseller Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir "" The Best We Could Do burns back the dead skin of public War memory. Underneath is the raw flesh of another kind of war story of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brutally intimate and intimately brutal. This book is a must-read. --Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis "The Asian American Literary Review, curator for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center ""show more

About Thi Bui

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. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her son, her husband, and her mother. The Best We Could Do is her first graphic novel.show more

Rating details

1,894 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
5 49% (937)
4 40% (758)
3 9% (176)
2 1% (19)
1 0% (4)
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