Library Journal Review
[DEBUT] With her debut graphic memoir, Bui captivates readers with her recounting of the struggle her family faced as they emigrated from Vietnam to the United States after the war, leaving behind their way of life. Now, as a new mother, Bui starts to contemplate her parents' lives and what events led them to their current situation. The narrative then rewinds to the author's childhood in California and her desire to understand why her parents fled their home in the Seventies. Spanning her own experience as well as that of her parents in the French-occupied and ultimately war-torn country, this oral retelling takes readers down the path of three generations, presenting a firsthand glimpse into the history of Vietnam. Uncovering deeper insight into her heritage, which resonates for her as an adult, Bui creates a seamless transition between past and present, making for an accessible read, along with beautiful artwork that draws us in with every panel. Verdict Be prepared to take your heart on an emotional roller-coaster journey with this thought-provoking account that completely satisfies as the story comes full circle. Highly recommended for teens and adults; an excellent choice for book clubs.-Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Review
Bui meticulously researched her family's history, discovering how their past affects her. Her family's story is full of struggle and heartache, and the author/illustrator beautifully details her parents' escape from Vietnam to the United States in search of a better life. A new mother, Bui returns to the theme of parenthood and family, and teens will recognize her yearning for stability and a happy future as well as her self-doubt and fear of repeating her parents' mistakes. A compelling narrative and breathtakingly elegant artwork with subtle colors and expressive and finely drawn characters make this title a standout. Curricular tie-ins include immigration policies, refugees, colonization, and the Vietnam War. VERDICT Hand this essential volume to teens who appreciate David Small's Stitches and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.-Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Artist and public-school teacher Bui's memoir and graphic-novel debut is a stunning work of reconstructed family and world history. In 1976, faced with job loss, little food, and constant surveillance, Bui's family fled Vietnam for the U.S. Her parents were born during the First Indochina War, from 1946-54, and in learning and recording their experiences her father's were especially full of unfathomable sorrows and the complex political situations that led her family to become refugees, Bui makes sense of what she couldn't as a child. Her stony father's humble heroism emerges, and though she claims her mother's story is the harder one to tell, since their lives are so entwined, she does this, too, with fullness and empathy. In an unforgettable scene, young Bui, despite growing up in San Diego, discovers she's inherited a refugee reflex to gather her minimal important belongings and seek safety at the slightest hint of danger. Inked in black and shaded with red ochre washes, Bui's expressive drawings are striking in their clarity, expression, and depth; the faces of her loved ones quickly become familiar. In creatively telling a complicated story with the kind of feeling words alone rarely relay, The Best We Could Do does the very best that comics can do. This is a necessary, ever-timely story to share far and wide.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2017 Booklist