50/50 Friday (76): Best/Worst Graphic Novel/Manga You’ve Read

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today’s Topic: Best/Worst Graphic Novel/Manga You’ve Read

I’m only going to do a ‘best’ because I haven’t read that many graphic novels and the ones I have read have been pretty good (or I can’t remember anything about them…).

Standalone to date

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 the first time 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.”

I absolutely loved this.  It documents the life of GB Tran’s family (nonfiction) and their experiences in Vietnam.  I just read this about a month ago and while I don’t have really any experience with graphic novels, I have to say, it was incredibly well done.  The timeline is a little wonky, but if you’re good at keeping track of people as they age, you’ll do just fine.  Also, there’s a key at the front which is incredibly helpful and I only found it once I finished the book.  Typical Laura 🙂  I highly recommend this though, even if you aren’t very well-versed in graphic novels like me!

Have you read this or another nonfiction graphic novel?  What did you think of it?  Do you have any favorite graphic novels?  Make a post and link up down below!


Next Week’s Topic: Best/Worst Classic Novel

0 thoughts on “50/50 Friday (76): Best/Worst Graphic Novel/Manga You’ve Read”

  1. Graphic Novel memoirs seem to be really big lately. This reminds me about another i heard about immigrants and how that effected the next generation. I think pictures really help you relate! I read tons of manga, my favorite are paranormal but I actually read different genres too. I've never heard of this 50/50 it sounds like fun!! Thanks.


  2. I'm the same as you- the only graphic novels I've read are \”good\” ones- my favorite being Mockingbird, Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda by Chelsea Cain, which I gushed about in my Best Books of 2017 post. I'm adding your pick to my list because graphic novels are sometimes a bit easier for me to read. :)Thanks for the rec, Laura!~Litha Nelle


  3. They are! I'm not sure that graphic novels will ever be my favorite style of book but I do appreciate how much effort and thought goes into each individual picture and how they all work together to give the reader an impression of emotion.I'll look out for more of your reviews so I can add some to my TBR! I haven't explored manga much as a genre and I'm hoping to try every genre there is so it's on my list. Thanks for stopping by Dani!


  4. I'll look out for your reviews on graphic novels! I'm just starting to add some to my TBR because I haven't really read much of the genre. We can explore it together 😀 Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!


  5. That is definitely going on my TBR! I think because I don't have much experience in the genre, I'm going to go solely on recommendations of good ones so I can get a sense of what's out there. I hope you enjoy Vietnamerica when you find the time to read it! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Litha!


  6. This is such a well-timed 50/50 :-)Kristen @ Metaphors & Moonlight was talking about graphic novels and has tempted me to try at least one so I am now looking for recommendations!


  7. I just saw her post as well! It actually inspired me as well (and seeing just how few graphic novels I've actually read when I was prepping this post) to dig into the genre a little more. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!


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