Thi Bui's illustrated memoir is an honest, up close look at the numerous struggles and scarifies made by one family. As Thi becomes a mother for the first time, she reflects on the enormity of that responsibility. Tracing her family's history and narrow escape from South Vietnam to America, Thi finds a way understand who her parents are now that she is an adult and a mother herself. The Best We Could Do is a superb look at he ties that binds us.— Jen Steele
Thi Bui's story goes beyond her own experience as a Vietnamese-American woman and into the forces that contributed to how she came to be. A look at the intergenerational ripples of the Vietnam War, The Best We Could Do is Bui's intimate story on a subject that doesn't always get explored with the depth and care she achieves. I truly loved this book and it will be a story I carry with me for some time.
— Olivia Valenza
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.
About the Author
Thi Bui was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States as a child. She studied art and law and thought about becoming a civil rights lawyer, but became a public school teacher instead. Bui lives in Berkeley, California, with her son, her husband, and her mother. A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui, was named a 2018 Caldecott Honor Book. The Best We Could Do is her debut graphic novel.