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Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey Hardcover – January 25, 2011
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--Selected by Time Entertainment as one of their "Top 10 Graphic Memoirs of All Time"
--Awarded the Society of Illustrators' Gold Medal in Sequential Art
--Awarded the New York Foundation for the Arts' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature
--Selected by School Library Journal and Library Journal as one of their "Best Books of 2011"
--Nominated for the 2012 Eisner Award's "Best Reality Based Work" category
"A terrific and amazing memoir." --Miami Herald
"Beyond storytelling, Tran is an artist truly gifted in his medium." --The Washington Post
"VIETNAMERICA is an utterly remarkable piece of American literature... this memoir resonate[s] as literature rarely does." --Racebending
"... Atmospheric and evocative, sometimes kaleidoscopic to the point of psychedelia in its construction and
formal invention." --Warren Ellis
From the Author
Vietnamerica is what happened when I realized to better understand myself, I needed to first better understand my parents. It's the 50-year journey of my family's trauma, tragedy, and triumph through Vietnam's wars, and reinvention in its aftermath as refugees in theUnited States. It's the unraveling of my family's truth and what's uncovered when I drew my past to write my future.
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I was assigned this memoir for a Refugee narrative course at UCLA. My professor purposefully concluded the course with this text, and I absolutely loved it! (Also because it was a fast read! lol, being a student that HELPS! )
This graphic novel is truly insightful, not only is the author G.B Tran an amazing story-teller, but he is a super talented illustrator as well! if you take the time to critique his work, the purposeful single page illustration that often contain no words to little words works as the climax of the story.
Like Joe Sacco, GB Tran himself incorporates his character within the comic. It is fascinating only because these are factual accounts of his life, if this was just any other novel, I wouldn't be as amazed.
Furthermore, I believe this novel re-sparked my interest in starting a memoir, I, myself being born in America, with parents that have "roots" in a Cambodia and China was truly inspired by this novel. I've always wanted to write one, but never knew where to start! This text is perfect for those interested in family values, diaspora, and journeys to self-hood.
"A man without history is a tree without roots" -Confucius
I would like to think that Tran was just as confused as I was at the beginning of the book when he was just hearing the first stories about his family's life in Vietnam, and as he learned more, the connections became clearer. Or maybe I'm just being presumptuous and projecting my logic and thought processes onto his.
The art in VIETNAMERICA is stunning. Tran does a fantastic job of combining form and function to portray the emotions involved in his family's experiences. It's obvious that he put his heart into every page of this book.
And as a young Vietnamese American who is in the process of exploring her roots, I want to thank Tran for providing me with a little more context surrounding what it is I'm getting myself into.
UPDATE: I just wanted to confirm that the book is indeed better and easier to understand the second time around (and that it was worth reading a second time).
I would definitely read this comic again.
This graphic novel offers a window into a group often villainized in America, and leaves a lasting impression. Everyone should read this.