The Best We Could Do
Thi Bui and her family were Vietnam War refugees, boat people who arrived in the U.S. in 1978, when the author was three years old. The Best We Could Do started as an oral history project for Bui. The result is much grander in scope: a moving, visually stimulating account of the author's personal story and an insightful look at the refugee experience, juxtaposed against Vietnam's turbulent history.
Bui's decision to render her life story in comics is inspired, making this attractive for a range of readers: young ones who might not be interested otherwise in events that happened long ago in a country far, far away, as well as those who witnessed those times and will recognize the truth in Bui's work. Though her research is meticulous, Bui makes complex historical events easy to understand. The artwork is simple and haunting, stripped down yet evocative while depicting the burdens of war the Bui family carried. Bui's sad story ends on an optimistic note--the best outcome we can hope for. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd