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Simplified Guide to Writing The Best We Could Do Essay: Themes, Topics, and Examples

By Evans Jan 03 2023

The Best We Could Do is one of those graphic memoirs you cannot put down without getting a real book hangover. Beautifully written and illustrated, the best we could do is a graphic memoir by Thi Bui. It is a book about family, parenting, and cultural identity. Thi wrote it as a way of understanding her parents better as she begins her parental journey. If you have been tasked with writing The Best We Could Do essay, I can assure you that you are going to have a blast! If you do not know where to start with your essay, worry not. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding this incredible book. So let’s start!

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The Best We Could Do summary

Thi Bui begins the book by introducing her readers to her son or rather, the journey to welcoming the son into the world. It also ends the same way, leaving us with a beautiful story in between. Thi has lived knowing that her parents did not have an easy transition from living in Vietnam to getting to America as refugees. However, she was not comfortable asking them about it. That is until she got a baby of her own and realized she had to know everything she could about their history. In this book, Thi shows us how things like war and refugee life can shape the life of a family. Her parents have endured a traumatic journey from the time their childhood, having been forced to live in abject poverty (in the case of her father) to losing infant children and escaping their motherland in a risky sea journey. These things have shaped the way they experience life and deal with different issues. This understands why her father seems to have these outbursts. She understands that even though she did not partake in the Vietnamese war, she is a product of it and it is only by understanding her history that she can things, especially for the family that she has created.

Writing The Best We Could Do essays

Now that you have a broad picture of what this book is all about, let’s get into the real deal. When tasked with writing an essay on the best we could do, how do you go about it?

The Best We Could Do themes

You can never go wrong with a literature essay when you choose to focus on themes. Every literary piece should have at least one theme. In our case, we have so many themes to choose from! For instance, the parenting theme seems to be the main theme and there is so much you can say about it. You can choose to compare Thi’s childhood, her parents, and that of her child. You can choose the theme of war, the life of a refugee, family, and mental health issues among others. Also, remember that there are so many aspects that you can explore when it comes to writing your essay based on a theme.


Remember that this book is the graphic kind. Images tell a story that can words may struggle to tell. Therefore, your best bet might be to go with the illustrations. How does Thi use graphics in this book? The book shows her to be something of a minimalist. Minimalism in graphics might mean something very different compared to something like interior design. The minimalism in this particular book raises more questions and causes the readers to try and fill these gaps with their imagination.


Writing is an art. So is illustrating. This book seems simple yet alluring. The colours used for the images tell a lot about her mood and the feelings of the characters throughout the entire book. Do you know, you can choose to write a whole essay purely based on the cover of the book? This particular cover has so many stories to tell but it needs a curious mind and a quick eye to unravel these stories.

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Comparing it with another book in the same line

Let us be honest here, professors dig the whole act of comparing two or even more literary books. Do you want an easy A+? Try comparing the best we could with a book like Maus by Art Spiegelman. Thi was inspired by Maus when it came to the graphics side of the book. Figure out how these two illustrators are similar and different from one another. You can also choose another book, perhaps about the Vietnamese war or culture, and compare it to Thi’s masterpiece.


Literary authors heavily rely on symbolism to pass heavy but subtle messages. This is also another area that you cannot go wrong with. One of the most powerful symbols in this book is perhaps Thi’s mother. She is depicted as a symbol of strength and sacrifice. Her mom sacrifices her dream of becoming a doctor when her husband (Thi’s father) contracts tuberculosis. Even when he miraculously survives, that dream is long gone as she has to leave her country. In America, she gets a job when her husband cannot and supports her family, always putting them above her dreams. The ocean is another powerful yet contradicting symbol. It is seen as her parents’ only path to salvation as they escape Vietnam. However, they soon discover that the ocean might not be their best friend as it can claim their lives in an instant.

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Need help writing your essay?

While The Best We Could Do is one of the best books out there, it might not be the easiest to understand or write about. If you are having a problem understanding some parts of the book, do not worry, Paper per Hour is here to help you out. If you understand the book perfectly but do not have time to work on your essay, do not feel left out because we got you too. All you need to do is click on place new order, provide us with your details and we will take care of it for you.

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