A Family's Journey

Book - 2010
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A memoir in graphic novel format about the author's experiences as the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon describes how he learned his tragic ancestral history and the impact of the Vietnam War on his family while visiting their homeland years later.
Publisher: New York : Villard Books, c2010
ISBN: 9780345508720
Characteristics: [279] p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 24 cm


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Feb 01, 2018

GB Tran’s “Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey” is an excellent example of the unique impact to be found in graphic novels where the interplay of text and image can combine to create a deeper emotional impact on the reader.

Tran’s writing effectively blends together both personal and historical insight as he describes the relationship each of his parents had with a significant parent, all set against the backdrop of the chaotic wars in Vietnam. His understanding of the political tensions in his parents home country is underscored by several repeated themes that pop up occasionally as his story spins out. For example the phrase “it is the rule of man, not the rule of law” is repeated several times to underscore that the laws on the books did not protect citizens from pointless and indiscriminate abuse at the hands of corrupt officials, regardless of the ideology of the party in charge.

The reader’ emotional response to the text is heightened by the powerful expressiveness of the illustrations. Much of the storyline unfolded in vivid panels, occasionally punctuated by full page illustrations that explode with kinetic energy and force. In one such case, a series of panels show Tran’s mother suggesting he pack earplugs to combat the street noise in Vietnam which amuses him because he live in loud New York City. Turn the page though and the reader sees a frenetic two page spread packed with frameless street activity with a frazzled, bug eyed portrait of Tran planted squarely in the middle. The drawing is so effective in translating his visceral experience of the cacophony of the streets, you almost want to cover your ears just looking at the drawing!

“Vietnamerica” will be enjoyed by those who like graphic memoirs, historical narratives, family stories, immigrant tales, and insights into the Vietnam War. People interested in such themes should also consider two other recent graphic memoirs covering similar topics from different view points, “Such a Lovely Little War” by Marcelino Truong, and “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui.

Oct 08, 2017

An epic; very confusing; told from multiple points of view; glossy paper; garish colours; more a comic book than graphic novel. Very biased politics.

Jan 03, 2012

Great detail into the family history of the people in the story and art that reminds me of Leinil Yu in a more newspaper comic style.There's a certain color palette used that conveys the somber tone and sorrow of the events of the graphic novel ideally.At first I found it a bit hard to keep track of who is related to who but I dont think that will be much of a problem for most people.


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Feb 01, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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