The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (Graphic Novel Mini Review)

The Best We Could Do is a history of Vietnam, a family’s escape, and a daughter’s search for meaning. I read this in one 2-hour sitting. Bookended by the birth of Bui’s child and her early parenting years, the narrative switches from the stories of her parent’s early lives in during the days of two separate Vietnams, to the war, and their eventual immigration to the United States.

The wash of colors,  the choice of palette, and the detail of outlining drew me in on every page. I appreciated the nuanced look at childhood, relationships, and a return, to a place of birth and a legacy of family. As hard as it is to read, this book tells a necessary story of survival. It’s one of the most powerful reads I’ve had in awhile. A harrowing escape by boat, the many demands of allegiance to regimes in power, and adapting to the new life in the US.

Highly recommended. It comes as no surprise that this one has won so many awards.

 

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