Thursday, March 2, 2017

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


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

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryThis 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!

source
The book takes readers through the lives of her parents, both from Vietnam, and the unlikely way their singular lives brought them together. While her mom had more of a lucky upbringing, her father dealt with a lot of hardship which made him into the man he was when he raised Thi Bui's brothers and sisters. He was paranoid and not very affectionate. Learning more about his past made the author understand him better. As for her mother, that was the one she most longed to make sense of, and digging into her past did bring her more into focus, even if Bui didn't love everything she learned.

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.

Want to read? Check it out here (I'm an amazon affiliate; I get a small percent of any sale).

11 comments:

Jennifer Humphries said...

Wow, this is powerful and much needed. I need to pick up a copy. Thanks for sharing your review.

Joyous Reads said...

Oh, I need this in my life. Very timely, indeed!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

This definitely sounds like a good book to read and discuss in light of the times in the U.S.

Grace @ RebelMommyBookBlog said...

This sounds like such an amazing story and love it is graphic memoir. Great review!!

The Bibliophile Babe said...

This sounds so powerful!

Bec Reader said...

This sounds like it would seriously punch you in the feels!! I'm glad it does it well at least and provides an insight to the lives and pasts of refugees

Tori Dennis said...

This is a Great Post!! I also read alot of Magazine and have been trying to think of ways to incorporate what I read into my blog! This is a great idea!!

La La in the Library said...

This sounds, and looks, wonderful! I am adding it to my Goodreads. Thanks for the heads up. :)

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Sounds like a fascinating memoir!

Aylee said...

I've recently started delving into the world of illustrated memoirs, so this caught my attention right away in my feed. Very relevant and poignant considering the times indeed. And I love that you seem to have gotten a lot out of it.

Farrah Fong said...

This sounds like a really great memoir! (Definitely especially poignant given what's happening in the world these days. :[ ) I'm going to need to keep on the lookout for it!