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This book is featured on Throwback Thursday @ https://readrantrockandroll.com/2018/…
I picked this up from Netgalley as soon as I learned about it. I love reading graphic novels and this one piqued my interest after reading the blurb. I had already read A Different Pond with my kids and loved that one, so I had a good feeling about The Best We Could Do.
This is an extremely moving graphic novel about a family’s immigration from Vietnam and how they do the best they can to make a living in a new
it was amazing
The Best We Could Do brings to life author Thi Bui’s search for a better future while longing for a simpler past. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story explores the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family.
Alternating between the present, Bui’s own childhood in California, and the lives of her parents amid the chaos of the Vietnam War, Bui explores the saga of her country while trying to understand the history of her parents and gr
I still remember how I felt the first time I read the graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant”, by Roz Chast. I wanted the world to read it…
I laughed. I cried. I laughed and cried at the same time! And by the way…. I felt it should be required reading for anyone who had aging parents! Both my parents were dead – and I still got value ‘as’ a mother: not wanting to leave my own daughters a mess to deal with after I die.
Roz Chast’s graphic memoir TRANSFORMED the word GRAPH
Later, I read “Maus” by Art Spiegelman. I got so deeply involved with these books – I own all of them – plus a DVD audio of historical documents and interviews.
My god – MEMOIR GRAPHICS on steroids… UNBELIEVABLE!!! How any one person created what he did is mind boggling.
I bring these two books up – both GRAPHIC MEMOIRS – because I think they could both become CLASSIC GRAPHIC NOVEL’S ….if there is such a thing.
Some books we should read in schools – read in temples – in Church – in Spiritual Communities – in ‘Reading Communities’ -in families ( as important as having a cell phone) –and some books in ALL THESE PLACES.
ADDING “The Best We Can Do”, by Thi Bui…. with Roz Chast, and Art Spieglman…. is THIS TYPE of MEMOIR. Forgive me for not mentioning other books that belong in group. I’m SURE THERE ARE MORE!!!!
In fact… I’d love to hear of other GRAPHIC MEMOIR or GRAPHIC HISTORY or HISTORICAL HISTORY books that readers feel are important.
“The Best We Can Do”
The visual art…watercolors are beautifully expressive — absolutely equally is as vital as the ‘written word’ — creating a soulful experience!
…..THIS IS A MEMOIR.
I appreciate the ‘years’ of research that went into this book.
“The seeds of this book were planted around 2002, when I was a graduate student and took a detour from my art education training to get lost in the world of oral history. The transcripts and my family stories (and the clumsy, homemade book that I produced), from that time we’re more meaningful than any art I had made before. I was trying to understand the forces that caused my family, in the late 70s to flee one country and start over in another.”
Thi Bui went exploring- researching and interviewing within her own family to search for memories in Vietnam about her mom –about her dad–about her grandparents –about her siblings –about herself. Given that she was only five years of age when she came to the United States during the 70’s., she was trying to understand Vietnam the way her parents did.
Thi Bui was also trying understand the ongoing battles she continued to live with between she and her mother: effects that displacement put on her and her family. This story is often so sad. What is sad to me – is not only what we learn from Thi Bui…but also from what she doesn’t tell us. This morning – I re-read the book – and felt sad – again. It feels as though Thi Bui held something back.
When Roz Chast was angry at her mother — ( who had died), –my god I felt it deeply in my gut….
but I can’t help but wonder ( and it’s alright – just sad and part of THIS story), if perhaps Thi Bui was a little afraid to be FULLY EXPRESSIVE in her own memoir. Yikes, the guts it had to take to write what she did with her mother STILL ALIVE AND LIVING WITH HER TODAY!!! It’s brave to write a memoir about one’s mother when they are alive!!!!! NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY you live in – displaced or not displaced.
Thi Bui WAS AlSO WORKING IN A SCHOOL FOR 7 years working with IMMIGRANTS– MUCH OF THE TIME WHILE WRITING THIS BOOK…. an alternative High School in Oakland for immigrants…. which she helped start. Yikes…. no wonder it took 15 years before this book landed in our hands. Besides her time divided between being a wife, a new mother, teacher, a daughter, ( her mother living in the same house), –she was writing words AND drawing pictures?/!!!!! Man…..”hallelujah”!!!!! That’s an accomplishment……
Plus……’add’ the emotional component!
“It was difficult to carve out time and headspace to work on something that not only required a lot of historical research, but was also intensely personal and at times painful. I often wanted to quit.”
You think? NO KIDDING!! I get it!!!! …..but so glad Thi Bui didn’t quit. Thank you Thi!!!!
She goes on to say…..( before she had chosen a title for this book) ……”I gave my book the name “REFUGEE REFLEX”. Having lived through the RUN/FLEE experience…it would always be a part of her. No, Bui’s suitcase is not packed this very moment….
but I can’t help but be concerned about our current immigration issues – and worry for those who do have bags packed praying they won’t be needed.
I’ll leave you with what I’m left with…. Thi Bui lives in Berkeley California with her husband, her son, and her mother. This story began with Thi giving birth to her son in THIS COUNTRY FOR A REASON……
Bui gave us an experience of a single-family across three generations…. each having a different perspective about Vietnam. As for herself, she understands enough about Vietnam’s history to know that “the ground beneath my parents feet had always been shifting….. so that by the time I was born, Vietnam was not my country at all. I was only a small part of it.”
What had worried Bui is……..
……would she unintentionally inflict damage, pass on a gene of sorrow to her son.
When she looks into his 10 year old eyes …. she doesn’t see war and loss. And thinks…..”maybe he can be free”.