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The Best We Could Do discussion > Completed Book - The Best We Could Do

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) What did you think?

** This book is different than the SFF books we have been reading and I think it merits more guided conversation. I'll add some discussion questions once I finish the book myself!


message 2: by Rebecca (last edited Sep 14, 2018 05:32PM) (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Finally read it! First impression: Friends who have read the book told me they had to digest chunks of it at a time, but I read it straight through. I was so drawn in by the way she traced all the threads of her family saga. Her dad's family in particular was like a trickster fable with Dickensian twists and turns!

I really wish the art had a more varied color palette. Not sure if this was the author's choice or just due to budget, but it didn't serve the multifaceted story.


message 3: by Rebecca (last edited Sep 19, 2018 07:46PM) (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) A few discussion questions to get us thinking...

1. Thi Bui did some incredible oral history with her family to uncover her roots in Vietnam and better understand her parents. Did you relate to this experience? Do you have a family tree splintered by immigration or diaspora? Got any good stories to share?

2. What did you think about the art? Was there a particular page or panel that stands out for you?

3. In one interview Bui called this book "my revenge against all the bad Vietnam War movies I grew up with." We're all media-loving geeks here, I know someone has strong opinions about these movies! What did you take away from reading Bui's perspective on this era and its legacy?


message 4: by Scott (last edited Oct 08, 2018 11:57AM) (new)

Scott | 59 comments Mod
I finished it over the weekend. I really enjoyed it. I even recommended it to my mom. I really enjoyed how she tied in her family story all together. And, as a bit of a history buff, I always like being able to see the personal side of events that we normally only see from a broad/“academic” view, or, as Bui mentions in that interview, inaccurate entertainment.

I guess technically, being a Korean adoptee, my family tree is splintered. But, I was so young when I was adopted and I know so little about my birth family, I don’t really have any stories lol

I really liked the art. While the color scheme was a bit one-note, I felt like it set the tone of the story. I could feel the desperation and hardship that her family suffered, especially with her father’s youth and the boat scenes.


message 5: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca (rebecita) Thanks Scott for keeping the discussion alive!

I actually ended up talking about this book with a colleague in my library today! We were looking at Inside Out & Back Again and she started complaining about how all Vietnamese American books have the same depressing refugee narrative. She's the same age and immigrant generation as Thi Bui, she said "Yes my family came as refugees and it was hard but that wasn't the ONLY thing about our lives." She wants to share more varied and fun books with her young son.


message 6: by Scott (new)

Scott | 59 comments Mod
I think that tends to be a "problem," in general with the memoir genre. They tend to only cover one aspect of a person's life and what led up to it. And if you read multiple memoirs about the same topic, they do start becoming "one note."


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