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The Best We Could Do
The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir | Thi Bui
An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one familys journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author 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 familys 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 Buis story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parentthe 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 Prizewinning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls a book to break your heart and heal it, The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Buis journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.
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NeedsMoreBooks
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Pickpick

Bui chronicles the story of how her parents left Vietnam in 1978 for the US. It is stark because of the colors used in the panels- shades of black, white, and dull red. Despite being a memoir, it also shows Vietnam‘s history: how her parents grew, her grandparents‘ stories, the political situation, and the trauma associate with war, displacement, being a refugee, and how the past lives on. #NFNov #graphicnovel

Clwojick Another one that's been on my radar for a while. I love a good NF Graphic. Thanks for reminding me about it. 6pt. 1w
NeedsMoreBooks @Clwojick you are most welcome and thank you! 1w
21 likes2 comments
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AmberWB
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This wasn‘t what I had expected but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I have always loved history, but as I get older, I am finding myself more interested in the aftermath of historical events and how people dealt with them. In this case, the focus was the lives of a Vietnamese family after fleeing Vietnam prior to the end of the war. These types of experiences are unfortunately not found in textbooks.

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TheEllieMo
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Soubhiville
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I think this is my favorite graphic novel I‘ve read. It‘s the story of the author‘s family moving to the US from Vietnam. There is a lot of history of the political changes in Vietnam from the 40‘s to the late 70‘s, of which I didn‘t know much. But the family dynamic is the strongest element here. Very good book!
#Igor snuggles 🙂 #CatsOfLitsy

Lindy I love this book too. ❤️ 2mo
Nute Cute face! An important story! 2mo
JoScho Love me some Igor ❤️ 2mo
See All 7 Comments
alysonwrites What a cute reading buddy! 😻 2mo
AmyG Igor is so sweet. ❤️ 2mo
BakingAndBooks Best reading cat ever. I really want one. 2mo
AmberWB I have this one on my TBR shelf- your review may inspire me to pick it up next! 2mo
74 likes5 stack adds7 comments
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Soubhiville
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You caught me on a Litsy mug day @dariazeoli ! Here‘s my #MondayMorningBeverage, it‘s just black tea, as I finish the tagged book before my exciting day of renewing my car registration, grocery shopping, and taking a load of stuff to a charity shop.

Happy Monday everyone! Let‘s see your Monday Mugs!

WanderingBookaneer Mine is also black tea! 2mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz I love that litsy mug! Is it sold online? 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Happy Monday beautiful ☺️❤️ 2mo
See All 9 Comments
Soubhiville @Jee_HookedOnBookz as far as I know the mugs have only been used for prizes from @Litsy so far. @TimSpalding should know the answer though... 2mo
britt_brooke Love it!! 2mo
Gissy Love that mug!😍❤️❤️❤️ 2mo
AmyG Have a wonderful week! DMV on a Monday? 😬 (edited) 2mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz @Soubhiville thank you! ❤️ 2mo
dariazeoli Sounds like a Productive day! Hope it was easy 👍 2mo
74 likes1 stack add9 comments
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rmaclean4
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Pickpick

Powerful graphic memoir. Thi Bui traces her parents past through the Vietnam war and their journey to the US. She explores the transition from being a child into parenthood and the shift of how we view our own parents. Thi comes to see her parents as individuals and not just as a characters in her life story. That shift of perspective feels universal and very powerful. Wonderful book. Highly recommend!

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AudreyMorris
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July Wrap-Up🎉🎉🎉. Tagged book was my only 5⭐️ read of the month. 4⭐️ for Dutch Girl, American Spy, and Princess Bari. The rest were 3⭐️. Gotta live a month with no duds! 8 books, 2 nonfiction, 2 in translation (from Korean and Swedish), 3 #camptob, 2 ARC/Galley, 4 by women, 5 diverse reads. #wrapup #monthlywrapup #julywrapup

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85eliana
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This intimate family memoir reveals the experiences of so many folks who lived in Vietnam and eventually came to the United States. It is both heartbreaking and encouraging. The artwork supports the story perfectly. TW: there are scenes involving trauma around the topic of birth and babies.

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CafeMom
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Read a world book written in the 21st century. #ReadingtheWorld #Hunsakermountain

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CafeMom
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Pickpick

My first graphic novel. The book is about many things; family, immigration, war and history. This family history is from the Vietnamese perspective which I found insightful. I also learned quite a bit about the French occupation of Viet Nam and its affect on this family. One of my favorite pages in the book is the actual identification pictures at the refugee camp in Malaysia.

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Cortg
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What an excellent graphic novel about a Vietnamese family who fled their country to come to America. Lots of Vietnam history. Thi Bui is a very talented artist and author.

Jee_HookedOnBookz I've been meaning to read this! Glad you enjoyed it! 6mo
Cortg @Jee_HookedOnBookz It just took an afternoon to read but it was chock full of history and experiences. You should definitely read it! 6mo
51 likes1 stack add2 comments
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CafeMom
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Next book. My first illustrated memoir. This will be the summer all school read for my son this year. He isn't even out of school yet but I thought I would read it before all the copies are gone when school gets out.

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Cortg
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It‘s a busy day at the pool but I need a base tan! Starting The Best We Could Do for our library reading challenge this month... Read a Graphic Novel.

Eyelit I really liked that book! 6mo
42 likes1 comment
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Booksnob
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This book is amazing and the artwork is phenomenal! I‘m getting excited to travel to Vietnam in June and have started reading for my trip.

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mandapants
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I love books lent by friends. When someone else loves the book enough to want others to read it & when they love me enough to lend it.

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JulietteGF
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In this very interesting graphic memoir, Thi Bui recounts her family's journey from war-torn Vietnam to their current life in the US. She evokes her childhood, the difficulties of writing this story, especially to make her parents open up to her about them fleeing Vietnam. I absolutely loved the style of the illustrations. Overall, it was a great read!

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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

Haunting and thoughtful graphic memoir. I learned some about Vietnam, about which I knew pretty much nothing. Hearing a firsthand immigrant experience is eye opening. Helps me to better understand some of the challenges of displacement and isolation that are faced. Beautiful, moving illustrations. Very good.
#graphicmemoir

45 likes2 stack adds
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j.rye
Mehso-so

Ridiculously quick read. I don‘t know what I wanted to get out of this novel, but I didn‘t really get much of anything. I think it‘s a mixture of the format and writing. Even the emotional parts seemed sterile to me. Overall, it was interesting enough to finish, but I wouldn‘t reach for this author in the future.

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j.rye
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My favorite thing about Fridays is picking my youngest up from school and heading to the library to pick out books. I‘ve got mine for the weekend and he‘s out there somewhere picking out his own. 😍 #startthemyoung

Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 8mo
28 likes1 comment
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suzisteffen
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Pickpick

5️⃣⭐️😍😍😍😍😍 I loved this graphic (as in graphic novel) memoir so very, very much. Pumped to see the author in person!! (She‘s not in this photo.) #ThiBui

tournevis My son's birth family name is Buì too. 10mo
suzisteffen @tournevis It‘s a beautiful name. Have you read this book? 10mo
tournevis @suzisteffen No I have not. 10mo
12 likes4 comments
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SarahMillerBooks
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4 likes2 stack adds
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Zbayardo
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Pickpick

I have never loved or been affected by a graphic novel as I have by this one. Such an honest story about family, love between generations, war, refugees and the heartache they endure and overcome.

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Addison_Reads
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On New Year's Day I read several graphic novels, and this was my first book of the year. It has been on my TBR since it was released. It also satisfies my letter B, #LitsyAtoZ

A beautiful story following a family fleeing war in Vietnam. It is sad, yet hopeful for a better life ahead. The illustrations are exquisite and enhance the reality of this heartfelt journey of a daughter seeking answers about where she comes from.

@BookishMarginalia

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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

A graphic novel is a powerful medium for telling stories not the least of which are memoirs—think Maus, Persepolis, March, & the tagged book. Together, words, pictures and colors join to provide immersive, deeply emotional, often harrowing, & deeply moving narratives about the human experience. This one tells a story of war, and it‘s lingering effects, being a refugee, family and belonging. Gut-wrenching & always honest. A hard but good read.

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Lauredhel
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A lovely, brutal graphic memoir of family, displacement, trauma, identity, and parenting.

59 likes1 stack add
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SoniaC
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Such a beautiful and powerful book. Really addresses family, war, being a refugee, being a child/parent and inter generational trauma. The art work is just gorgeous.

Caterina I loved this!! So glad you did too. I read it on Hoopla but I want a physical copy someday to reread. 13mo
SoniaC @Caterina yes I‘m so glad I got a physical copy of this one. 13mo
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SoniaC
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Just started this one but so far the art work is incredibly beautiful and the story is highly engaging. Think I‘m going to love it.

33 likes1 stack add
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Spanish_Broom
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Beautifully wrought, hard truths.

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heidisreads
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This is one of those books that could be reread and reread and the reader would still pick up something new - something important - something worth stopping to think about. This is the full-package... the story's flow, illustrations, the family dynamics, the history... wonderful! #memoir #comix

21 likes3 stack adds
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heidisreads
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I didn‘t realize the creator of this book also illustrated A Different Pond. Wow! Both great stories of refugees and immigration and how it affects multiple generations. #graphicnovel #memoir

18 likes1 stack add
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KristinaRay
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Mehso-so

#graphicnovel #memoir

It was okay. I'm not sure if it was a case of high expectations, or what. I liked the ideas it was bringing out, but I found it slow and not very engaging. I almost bailed a couple times. The beginning and the end were good, the middle just dragged for me.

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Alicia
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Finished this amazing story earlier this week. Made me realize I sadly do not know that much about the Vietnam war, so I hope to change that soon. Amazing story, truly eye-opening. I appreciate the chance to read it and learn from it. I learned a lot of the history and also the human experience and connection that comes with it.

EH2018 Met the author at book expo this year...she was really nice 💕 1y
73 likes1 comment
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KristinaRay
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#graphicnovel #memoir #currentlyreading

I just started this one today. Very thought provoking so far.

CaroPi Is so good! 1y
61 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Chasingmermaids
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The art in this book is beautiful.

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BritanyA
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: Picked this up for BookRiot challenge and really enjoyed it. A memoir of a Vietnamese family as they journey to the US.

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CaroPi
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This is the best way to start a new month #paperback #graphicnovel #biography #summer #womanwriter

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cocomass
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Pickpick

Phenomenal. What a beautiful tribute to her parents, and an excellent documentation of family history as well as the refugee experience. Also, the illustrations are wonderful.

UrsulaMonarch Well put & I agree! 💚 1y
32 likes1 comment
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cocomass
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Just started this beautiful illustrated memoir 😍

36 likes2 stack adds
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Laughterhp
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#Booked2018 - Reads for the 2nd Round; I jumped around with the categories

Childhood Fav: Charlotte‘s Web
Featuring a Holiday: Hallowe‘en Party
Set in School: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Steampunk: The Dark Unwinding
Refugee MC: The Best We Could Do
Flowers/Swords in Cover: The Peach Keeper

4thhouseontheleft 🎉🎉🎉 The Best We Could Do is high on my TBR list! 1y
38 likes1 comment
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Susanita
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The little girl in the picture is the author. “I saw her standing there.”

This is a poignant and wistful story told through spare prose and lovely artwork. It‘s a #refugee story as well as a story about mothers and daughters. I also learned a lot about what was happening in Vietnam during and after WWII.

#HeyJune
#Booked2018

Cinfhen Well done 👍🏻 awesome choice for prompt❤️I haven‘t read this GN but I‘ve heard such good things!!! 1y
GypsyKat I‘ve never heard of this before, but I‘m definitely intrigued now! ❤️ 1y
38 likes2 comments
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2BR02B
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When you notice weird little details about the comic you're reading... such as a character with two left feet. 😕

saresmoore That‘s kinda eerie. 1y
MirrorMask 😂 1y
Caterina They look normal to me 🤔 We‘re seeing the top of the right foot and the bottom of the left, yes? 1y
2BR02B @Caterina Ohh, I didn't think of that. From the rounding of the heel I thought we were looking at the bottoms of both feet, and the overlapping of the toes seemed to suggest that the big toe was closest to the viewer. Interesting how perspectives can differ! 1y
CouronneDhiver Ha! I can see it from both angles... hilarious 1y
57 likes5 comments
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2BR02B
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About to start the tagged book. NBR but Fran is being super adorb.

#catsoflitsy

Texreader Adorable!!! 1y
2BR02B An hour ago I took Nox outside for some exercise and he found a bunny nest and (mostly) decapitated one of its tiny denizens before I could stop him. So it's nice to have a reminder that kitties are usually sweet and cuddly, not bloodthirsty bunny killers. 😓💔 1y
Hollie (Mostly) decapitated...ew!! 1y
Reviewsbylola 😍😍😍 1y
Crazeedi Awww soooo adorable!!!💜 1y
77 likes5 comments
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CindyE09
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Pickpick

I read this for the @bookriot #readharder challenge, for the “comic written or illustrated by a poc” category. I rarely read graphic novels, but I really enjoyed this memoir told in graphic novel form. This is the story of a family of refugees from Vietnam after the Vietnam War, told as the author looks back while having her first child to understand the decisions her parents made to survive. A powerful and moving read, I highly recommend it.

EH2018 Just got this at book expo! So excited to read it! 1y
CindyE09 @EH2018 It was a really good read. Difficult subject matter though 1y
lmbix Sounds great...good for you doing read harder! Have you read The Refugees re Vietnamese refugee experience in the US. Highly recommended! 1y
96 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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CindyE09
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Books I ordered online got in yesterday. Bottom two are for the @bookriot #readharder challenge. Have started on the tagged book, hoping to finish later tonight. Promised myself I wouldn‘t order anymore books for awhile after this since I have so many unread books already, then broke my promise and ordered more anyway last night 😫

tammysue 👏🏻👍🏻 1y
Hollie I loved Lillian Boxfish! 1y
SexyCajun Same here 1y
EH2018 The author of The Best We Could Do was at the Book Expo, and she was really sweet. I hear great things about that one. And Lillian Boxfish was really good! 1y
114 likes1 stack add4 comments
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angrylilasian
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Pickpick

This was one of my favorite books last year. So excited that I got to finally meet Thi and get a signed book. #bookexpoamerica #bea2018

saresmoore How cool! 1y
RealLifeReading That‘s awesome! I loved this book! 1y
36 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Deborah42
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A marvelous graphic memoir in which Thi Bui traces her family‘s escape from Vietnam to a refugee camp, and then on to a new life in America. Upon becoming a mother herself, she sees her parents and their struggles in a new light.

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LikelyLibrarian
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Congratulations on your milestone @laurenashley 👏🎉

The four books from my TBR list that I want the most are:

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Women & Power by Beard
Americanah by Adichie
Circe by Miller

Thanks so much for hosting this amazing giveaway!!

#4444giveaway

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ReadingEnvy
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Enjoyed this graphic-memoir of Thi Bui's family - their lives in Vietnam, coming to America, and how becoming a mother has made her think differently about her parents and their decisions. Found in #hoopla.

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amyf0x
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Pickpick

A stunning graphic novel memoir that explores themes of family, history, motherhood, love and trauma against the backdrop of the author‘s immigration from Vietnam to the US as a young child.

Read April 30 - May 4
Book 18/50

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LitsyGetsGraphic
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Final thoughts 💭 💭💭 in a couple sentences convince a friend why s/he should read this book.
What part of it is special? Why do you think it is high appraised?

LukkiAnn It is a very good compliment to The Sympathizer. Both books talk about refugees from refugees‘ prospective. But this book has more Vietnam history before the Vietnam War and has more vivid pictures of War itself. 2y
Eyelit I really liked this one - the way it was told (nonlinear) worked for me and the art was perfect for the story. 2y
16 likes2 comments