The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Thi Bui)

thebestwecoulddo

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.


This is an important book! I honestly don’t know what to say to convince you to read it, but please: READ THIS ONE! Buy it. Read it. Re-read it. Give it to your friends and family. Give it to your kids. Let them understand how wrong what is happening in the USA and the world is.

The Best We Could Do tells the story of the author’s, Thi Bui, journey to the US as a refugee in the midst of the Vietnam War, as well as her journey to understanding her parents, and what they went through.

First of all, the art is just so beautiful! It’s one of the first things I “see” in a graphic novel, because if the art is not appealing to you, it’s kind of hard to get into it, right? Well, this one is just gorgeous! Then the story is told in a very cool way, as it relates what Thi is feeling in her present life, and relating it to her upbringing and her parents’ experiences.

I have to say that I’m not well versed in Vietnam’s history. I’m from Portugal, born in the 80’s, and while here we know of the Vietnam’s war and everything that happened, it was always mentioned in a very superficial way, because at that moment we had other issues here in this country, such as a dictatorship of our own to learn about. The point is, I wasn’t aware of some of the things that happened, and the dynamics of what happened in WW2 and after. But I learned a lot while reading this book, because not only did it taught me, but it made me curious enough to go look online for more information.

screenshot_2017-01-30-10-13-46(gorgeous, right?!)

This is the main point of books for me, to expand our horizons. A book that makes you question, and learn, and curious for more? It’s something that everyone should read.

In a point in history when refugees are being demonized by ignorant people, it’s more important than ever to support this book. To learn from someone who was a refugee herself. To read a side than most of us won’t be able to completely understand, but we can empathise, and try to learn to do better. Right?

So, guys, this book will be out soon. Buy it, review it, share the word. Talk about it. READ IT!

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9 thoughts on “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Thi Bui)

  1. Tiana says:

    I so agree with all the points you make here! I just started reading this book and so far it is amazing! There is so much beauty and humanity in it and you learn so much about a culture that is not much talked about in the us. I agree this needs to be discussed and read as much as we can. We need to be more understanding of one another if we can live together more peacefully.

  2. flacoali3 says:

    ” a point in history when refugees are being demonized by ignorant people, it’s more important than ever to support this book.”
    You’re so on with this. I will be sure to check this out and maybe even order it for my high school students. thanks!

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