THE BEST WE COULD DO: A graphic novel/memoir

This unique piece of family history, a debut graphic novel/memoir written and illustrated by Thi Bui was an advance copy I borrowed from a friend’s LFL (Little Free Library).  She often receives books ahead of publication at book conventions and fairs. This book will be published in 2017, and I predict it will educate and inspire many readers.

It tells one family’s story  of its journey from war torn Vietnam to a new home in America.  Bui describes herself in the book’s Preface as “…a product of war.” The writing of the memoir itself is the author’s “…journey of understanding” as she nears the birth of her first child and seeks to understand her mother’s same journey so many times in Vietnam.  In the Preface, she states, “I realized the book was all about parents and children, and it [the title] became The Best We Could Do.”

The illustrative sketches themselves must be commented upon.  When the author is dealing with facts and/or history, the panels are crisp, detailed and strongly drawn.  When she is dealing with memories or perceived, personal history, the drawings are mere sketches, fuzzy-lined, hazy backgrounds.

As the author begins to take on the roles as parent and child simultaneously, her emotions about her new born son intermingle with feelings about the new grandmother, her mother, as well.

It is a touching, fascinating look at a period in history, both ours and Vietnam’s, that is enlightening and moving at the same time, and we agree that Thi Bui’s family did indeed do the best they could do.


Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

5 thoughts on “THE BEST WE COULD DO: A graphic novel/memoir”

    1. I forced my Third Tuesday Book Club at the public library to read a graphic novel and nobody but me liked them! I think some of Neil Gaiman’s work is pure art and wonderful fantasy stories. This was at least two years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve tried lots of graphic novels, but I’ve rarely liked a graphic novel. The text is sparse and is limited to words that fit in a speech bubble; it sounds trivial. Maybe that’s what annoys me about graphic novels.

    Liked by 1 person

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