In this stunning debut autobiographical- graphic novel, Thi Bui shares the heartbreaking and resilient story that is her family’s journey to the United States. They leave Vietnam not because they want to, but they leave because they have to in order to survive. She shares the oral histories of her parents as they grew up in the aftermath of the Geneva Accords, which divides Vietnam into the North and South. The trauma her parents are burdened with become generational trauma that impacts the way Bui and her family live their lives. As Bui grows into her role as a mother, she considers how to give her son a balanced life: ensuring that he knows where he comes from without passing on the pain she has inherited from her own childhood. Bui’s comics encapsulate the emotions and vulnerabilities that cannot be said with words. 

 

“My parents packed bags anyway and waited by the radio, holding their breath. But at 10 a.m. on April 30, 1975, President Duong Van Minh went on the air and announced South Viet Nam’s surrender... The American version of this story is one of South Vietnamese cowardice, corruption and ineptitude South Vietnamese soldiers abandoning their uniforms in the street Americans cying at their wasted efforts to save a country not worth saving. But communist forces entered Sai Gon without a fight, and no blood was shed. Perhaps Duong Van Minh’s surrender saved my life” (Bui 215-216). 

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui