Sunday, July 23, 2023

Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

Back in June at the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival, I had the privilege of being introduced to Thien Pham by the inimitable Raina Telgemeier. When Raina recommends a book and then introduces you to the author/illustrator, you go out and read that book (Side note, I even got the privilege of driving Thien and Raina to Detroit for an adventure as part of his 100 days of noodles prior to his book's publication). This graphic memoir blew me away and touched my heart.

Thein Pham's first memory is on a refugee boat from Vietnam to Thailand and to this day, he can still taste the sweetness of the rice and the saltiness of the fish of what he ate after a near catastrophic moment on that boat. In Family Style, we go on a journey with Thien Pham and his family as they navigate their lives as refugees and then immigrants to the United States, settling in Northern California. Each chapter in this book is organized around a specific dish as we watch Thien and his family live the American dream. The culminating chapter of this book is so beautiful and emotionally resonant that I will be thinking about it for a long time. What I especially love is that Family Style is a graphic memoir that can go on ANY library shelf... middle grade readers, young adults, and adults alike can pick up this book, enjoy it, and feel like it was written just for them.

Published: June 20, 2023
Publisher: First Second
Pages: 240
Genre: Graphic Memoir
Audience: Middle grade/Young Adult/Adult
Disclosure: Purchased copy

Purchasing the book from the above Bookshop affiliate link supports independent bookstores and gives me a small percentage of the sale. 

1 comment:

  1. I heard about this memoir recently, and it sounds like such a powerful story, Beth! And it's wonderful hearing about how you got to connect with this author (and Raina Telgemeier!) before it was published. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review!