Being a second generation American, is both an interesting and sometimes ostracizing place to be. There are universal to all families, no matter, the culture, or language barriers. Then are unique to your own culture, that may seem odd or interesting in a tourist way, to outsiders. This becomes even more confusing, if you ever get to go back to places where your parents are from.
I was extremely fortunate to have grown up in two different cultures as well as to live in America, which has its own cultural idiosyncrasies. I was also able to go to both countries, which is as far apart on the map as in they are in cultural differences, but despite this, my parents still fell in love. So when, I went back, I was not necessarily looked as their countryman, but as an American, which is hilarious and confusing. This what I identified with in GB Tran’s Vietnamerica, his family’s history intertwined with his own self-discovery.
We Meet GB and his parents, on a plane trip back to Vietnam, as his grandparents on both sides of the family pass away. As his mother tells him part of the family history, which could be told to total strangers, it is what is painful and what makes his parents cringe, is what interests him. As he starts to visit the places where his family grew up, he stats learning parts of his parents’ past, especially his father would rather not talk about. By book’s end, GB gets a better understanding of his parents and the rest of his family, and suddenly his own struggles seem somewhat minuscule to theirs.
Overall, a moving portrait of a family who will do anything and everything for each other. The story by Tran is another fine addition in what it is to be second generation Asian American, right alongside The Namesake and The Joy Luck Club. The art by Tran is as affecting as the stories told in it, as he the way he draws his family, the reader feels the love he has for them. Altogether, a memoir that will take you on a journey, which will make you understand the true meaning of family secrets and the love of a family.
Story: GB Tran Art: GB Tran
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy