The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
Review by Lauren
source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Review: With everything currently happening in the world concerning refugees, this is a extremely poignant graphic memoir. This is the story of Thi Bui's family, starting in the United States when she's giving birth to her own son. She's never had a terribly close relationship with either of her parents so she sets out to learn more about their life in and escape from South Vietnam. Part memoir, part history book, this is definitely a book I would recommend to many!
This was an intriguing memoir, full of heartache and pain. It's also one of bravery and love. Her family was a refugee family, hiding on a boat to get to Malaysia, so they could then move on to the United States. It was a journey full of fear and upsets, but eventually, they made it to the U.S. and to a life very different from what any of them had known. This is a very well-done memoir and I loved following Bui on her journey into the past.
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