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Summer Reading 2017: The Best We Could Do

Find the book you want to read this summer!

Alexis wants to read this book because...

This graphic novel has been rapidly popping up on more and more must read lists and it's being compared to Art Spiegelman's Maus and described as "beautiful and haunting" (San Francisco Chronicle). I love graphic novels and stories that offer fresh perspectives. Added bonus: the author, Thi Bui, lives in Berkeley and teaches at California College of the Arts.

About the book

The Best We Could Do

by Thi Bui

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.



Applicable categories for the Urban Read Harder Challenge:

True Stories Well Told

1,000 Words

For fans of

  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey by GB Tran
  • Graphic novels

About the reader

Alexis Wright, English

Alexis has recommended the following book in previous years:

  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa