A TIME Magazine Top Ten Graphic Memoir of All Time
A 2011 School Library Journal "Best Adult Book 4 Teens"
A 2011 Library Journal Best Graphic Novel
Selected for common reading at Davidson College
A superb new graphic memoir in which an inspired artist/storyteller reveals the road that brought his family to where they are today: Vietnamerica
GB Tran is a young Vietnamese American artist who grew up distant from (and largely indifferent to) his family’s history. Born and raised in South Carolina as a son of immigrants, he knew that his parents had fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. But even as they struggled to adapt to life in America, they preferred to forget the past—and to focus on their children’s future. It was only in his late twenties that GB began to learn their extraordinary story. When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for their memorials and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.
In this family saga played out in the shadow of history, GB uncovers the root of his father’s remoteness and why his mother had remained in an often fractious marriage; why his grandfather had abandoned his own family to fight for the Viet Cong; why his grandmother had had an affair with a French soldier. GB learns that his parents had taken harrowing flight from Saigon during the final hours of the war not because they thought America was better but because they were afraid of what would happen if they stayed. They entered America—a foreign land they couldn’t even imagine—where family connections dissolved and shared history was lost within a span of a single generation.
In telling his family’s story, GB finds his own place in this saga of hardship and heroism. Vietnamerica is a visually stunning portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention—and of the gift of the American immigrants’ dream, passed on to their children. Vietnamerica is an unforgettable story of family revelation and reconnection—and a new graphic-memoir classic.
Praise for Vietnamerica:
“In Tran’s memoir of his parents’ life in Vietnam–and his own discovery of that story–theme, narrative, and art work together to create a deeply compelling graphic novel. Tran meditates on war, loss, and memory, but the overriding theme is the complexity, hardship, and reward of family life, a theme that finds full life in the author’s multi-layered narrative. . . . This novel could easily find a place in the classroom but its broad set of issues and graphic format should also appeal to a wide variety of teens.” –School Library Journal