The Best We Could Do

May 16, 2021

In celebration of Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage month, we wanted to take some time to introduce a fantastic illustrated memoir created by Thi Bui.

The Best We Could Do is a personal and family narrative evocative of works such as Maus and Persepolis. Bui chronicles her parent’s life before, during, and in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and their subsequent migration to the United States. It gives an important and much different perspective of the war in contrast to how most Americans think of that period in time. A heavy hitter on the emotional scale, the themes of family, parenthood, intergenerational trauma, war and immigration are all important components of this memoir. It explores how differently people recollect the same history according to their personal circumstances such as gender, social class and previous life experiences. 

This was Thi Bui’s debut graphic novel (first published in 2017), and is the result of her training herself to draw over the years she worked as an educator. The Best We Could Do was an Eisner finalist and has been recognized with several other accolades including the American Book Award. It’s an amazing piece of literature that absolutely deserves a place on your shelf.