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Cover of The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir
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The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

By: Thi Bui

Publisher: Abrams

Imprint: Abrams ComicArts

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781419718779

On Sale: | Pages: 336

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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."
[F]amily — complicated, difficult, sometimes tragic family — is at the heart of this intense and moving memoir.... We learn a sweeping, terrible history...but always she brings it back to an intimate level.... Memoirs told in comic book style, such as this one, are growing more popular. But Bui's is the most moving I've seen this year: passionate, intimate, tackling huge themes — love, war, history, emigration — while focused intensely on one family. If you want to better understand the history and scope of the Vietnam War, if you want to understand what immigrants have endured, and continue to endure, you can start with no better book.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
The book opens vivid and raw with Bui giving birth to her son, and the realization that “[f]amily is now something that I have created — and not just something I was born into.”... Bui is a master of facial expression. She expresses so much in her renderings of the angle of an eyebrow, the tense line of a mouth. And her use of ochre wash over black ink lends the feel of sepia-tinted history in her recreations of the past.
—Boston Globe
... a beautiful and haunting illustrated memoir by Thi Bui. This is Bui's first book — the Berkeley resident teaches in the master's in comics program at the California College of the Arts — and she has invested great care into an epic account of her family's wartime lives in Vietnam and their escape to this country in the late 1970s.... Like Art Spiegelman's masterpiece, “Maus,” Bui's memoir elicits complex emotions from understated pen-and-ink drawings.
—San Francisco Chronicle
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