The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi BuiThe Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

byThi Bui

Paperback | April 17, 2018

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National bestseller
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.
Thi Bui was born in Vietnam three months before the end of the Vietnam War, and came to the United States in 1978 as part of the “boat people” wave of refugees from Southeast Asia. Her debut graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do (Abrams ComicArts, 2017), has been selected as UCLA’s Common Book for 2017, a National Book Critics Circle fi...
Title:The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated MemoirFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6.5 × 1 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6.5 × 1 inPublished:April 17, 2018Publisher:Abrams ComicArtsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1419718789

ISBN - 13:9781419718786

Appropriate for ages: 13


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book. Please. This book was so much more than I expected. Yes, it is the story of a refugee family establishing themselves in America, but it was also a deeply reflective work about motherhood. I picked it up as part of Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge - I'm not a big graphic novel reader by nature - and it is exactly why I am glad I did that challenge. I wouldn't have read it had I not been prompted to and it would have been my loss.
Date published: 2018-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding I devoured this in one sitting, finally understanding why my teenage daughter does the same with the graphic novels she has read over the years-- everyone should read it. I am not sure that what made this so spectacular could have been captured in prose. An extremely personal and emotional read, but full of everything a good memoir is -- questions, observations, reflection, honesty, and teachings -- lot of them. I cried when it was over, This book will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely Beautiful graphic memoir about life. Life as a parent, a child, a citizen of a country experiencing war, a refugee, an immigrant, the child of immigrants.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoughtful Beautifully executed and thought-provoking story about family history and relationships. Definitely recommend.
Date published: 2017-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Read A memoir of unspoken feelings and communication amongst family members. Each family member's unique journey and challenges has shaped their identity. It's roller coaster of heartfelt emotions in one book. Not to mention great artwork!
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book. Graphic novels are my favourite form for memoir. So much goes unsaid between people in families. So much is said in facial expressions and in body language. This book captures that and so much more. I learned so many things about a war I realized I really didn't know that much about. Read this and recommend it it to everyone you know.
Date published: 2017-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend! This beautiful and challenging book is a meditation on trauma and forgiveness. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting from the safety of my sunny apartment in Ontario, Canada. The privilege I have as reader is both to be moved by Bui's work and to know that I will never fully understand it's depth. To say that this book deals with identity, loss, and migration is to miss the subtle nuances that Bui draws into each page. Her work is at once profound and personal.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This is the first memoir I've ever read and I have to say it did not disappoint! I found it really interesting. The struggles this family went through to have a better life was something I have never read about before or even imagined people going through. I highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The best and more "The Best We Could Do" is both a very apt title for the year in general for many of us, and for this highly intimate graphic memoir of Thi Bui. She pours her heart into it, even learning how to do comics which is a big factor as to why this comes across so genuine in the message it was conveying. 'The best we can do' is undoubtedly a unifying theme in many immigrant stories. Unlike many immigrant stories which juxtaposes an old life left behind and a new life of assimilation to a new culture, Bui takes a unique approach in focusing predominantly on her Vietnamese heritage and family's history in context to Vietnam's period of turmoil, and of what significance that is to her as a new mother. Her Ma and Bo's background, and the utmost respect and love despite their strained relationships are shared with a brutal honestly and wide-eyed clarity. "The Best We Could Do" is such an emotionally engaging memoir and a very personal historical lesson that I'll never forget, especially when it leaves us with a hopeful future for the next generation.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful comic story filled with gorgeous art! The Best We Could Do is a stunning, truly impressive story written about a stunning family who I would love to meet and just have a chat about history with. Thi Bui is an amazing artist and writer, who, during the period of time I read every page, made me feel as someone more important than just a reader of her upcoming debut memoir. Her story is one in a million, although thousands and millions of citizens of her nation, Vietnam, encountered some similar events as her family, the Buis, had. On release day, March 7, 2017, take a visit to your local bookstore and support this electrifying story.
Date published: 2016-12-14

Editorial Reviews

“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.”