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Ethel & Ernest [Paperback]

Raymond Briggs
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 2001
Poignant, funny, and utterly original, Ethel & Ernest is Raymond Briggs's loving depiction of his parents' lives from their chance first encounter in the 1920s until their deaths in the 1970s.

Ethel and Ernest were solid members of the English working class, part of the generation that lived through the most tumultuous years of the twentieth century. They met during the Depression--she working as a maid, he as a milkman--and we follow them as they court and marry, make a home, raise their son, and cope with the dark days of World War II. Briggs's portrayal of how his parents succeeded, or failed, in coming to terms with the events of their rapidly shifting world--the advent of radio, television, and telephones; the development of the atomic bomb; the moon landing; the social and political turmoil of the sixties--is irresistibly engaging, full of sympathy and affection, yet clear-eyed and unsentimental.

Briggs's illustrations are small masterpieces; coupled with the wonderfully candid dialogue, they evoke the exhilaration and sorrow, excitement and bewilderment, of experiencing such enormous changes. As much a social history as a personal account, Ethel & Ernest is a moving tribute to ordinary people living in an extraordinary time.


From the Hardcover edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; Reprint edition (Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714474
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 13.6 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,918,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Raymond Briggs has used his parents in his work before. They were the archetypes for the bemused elderly couple in his fable of nuclear war, When The Wind Blows, and in lighter vein his father has been the model for Father Christmas. But in this latest work Briggs takes it a step further in writing (and, of course, drawing) a cartoon strip biography of his parents marriage from courtship in the twenties to death in the seventies. This tribute to ordinary lives--no affairs, no illness before the end, no regrets--is inevitably a very personal work, but also serves as a fascinating social history. From when they meet as milkman and parlour maid, through the Depression, second world war, childbirth (Briggs himself gets a particularly good cameo role in the sixties, replete with magnificent sideburns), old age and death, we see a world in rapid flux while Ethel and Earnest's loving relationship remains resolutely stable. The drawings are characteristically tender--the scene when his dead mother lies on a hospital trolley is particularly moving--and the simple text gives more than a taste of these people and the times they lived through. Sentimental as well as engaging? Absolutely. But work like this gives sentimentality a good name. --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"A best seller in Britain, this winsome little book is one family's twentieth century, told as a comic strip that fast-forwards through the decades. Briggs's artful rendering of his parents' striving captures the English working class, and as the tale progresses, you find yourself slowly sucked into their daily patter, amused by their cooing voices, impressed by their bravery. At the end, you're hardly prepared for the emotional wallop." --"Time "In the details of Briggs's sparkling cartoons, the characters become richly specific and endearing . . . both pathetic and heroic in the face of overwhelmingevents. [They are] what make you read through Ethel & Ernest over again." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "New York Times "Ethel & Ernest works brilliantly and artfully as an archetype. It is the author's willingness to frame his love and anguish so piercingly that makes it such a singular piece of work. We should be grateful that Briggs is so brilliantly equipped to remind us of what we u sed to be, and why." --Nick Hornby, "New York Times Book Review "From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ETHEL! FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! WHERE ARE YOU? Read the first page
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Concordance
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A beautiful moving story written by the well known author Raymond Briggs, author of the Snowman. The true story begins as Ethel and Ernest meet. Their love and life together unfolds through a series of beautifully illustrated cartoons. The reader is taken on a journey of life's pleasures and pains, through the war years and beyond.
As a nurse and a lecturer in hospice care I was drawn to the end of the book which portrays first Ethel's dying and death followed by the death of Ernest. The images are so powerful that few words are needed. The inevitability and the pain of death and loss are clearly and sensitively portrayed.
Ethel and Ernest should be available in every school, every church, and every library throughout the world. It must be on the reading list of all health care professionals.
Read this book. You will laugh and you will cry but most of all you will understand a little more of life.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted, simple love story 7 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This slim volume contains the love story of Ethel and Ernest, two simple folk. Raymond, their son, is the affectionate storyteller, painting in words and pictures the story of his parents' marriage, 'til death they do part. I was in tears at the end; read it and experience times long past.
Celia Crossley
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 4 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is touching, beautifully drawn and also a surprisingly informative summary of the last 50 years. As a Briggs fan, I would rate this as his best yet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 4 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is such an unusual book. I saw Richard Briggs being interviewed on TV about this book and felt compelled to order it. A delightful, moving, book illustrating the meeting, marriage and life of Richard Briggs parents. a treasure for those of us who are sentimental and still believe in love and marriage. i highly recommend this book for those reasons and the wonderful illustrations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book. 30 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a lovely story with beautiful pictures, all very vintage.
A heartfelt story typical of Raymond Briggs.
Suitable for those who wish to take a short trip down memory lane.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic biography and social history 23 Oct 2012
By Emily - London VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
From graphic novel to graphic biography, lives pared down to the essentials as Raymond Briggs draws the essence of the stories his parents told him about their lives, a quarter century after their deaths in 1971.

It made both me and my partner cry. "Forty one years in the same house." Died the same year. This is the story of a century told through a marriage. Raymond Briggs stands at the end of the book in the back garden with his wife looking at the pear tree he grew from a pip - from a pear he had eaten while evacuated to the country.

Part of its strength is that his parents were the twentieth century - his father born in 1900 just late enough to avoid the first world war. He was a milk man. They were early home buyers. Their house was bombed. They argued over politics and war and rationing and Churchill. They bought a fridge and a car and mowed the lawn. Their son passed the eleven plus and went into a very different world with art school, long hair and red wine. Some reviewers think that is trite - but for me it tells me where the man who wrote `Ug' and `When the Wind Blows' came from, and it is where a lot of people have come from.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving, honest, and simple. 18 May 2011
Format:Paperback
This books format is simple to read being a cartoon strip narrative of an ordinary life. The book is moving and honest and i defy anyone not to be nearly in tears,or blubbering like a baby by the ending, i myself cried and so did others that loaned the book. Mr Briggs simple story of his mother and father, is a warts and all look at life love and relationships. I for one cannot praise Ethel & Ernest enough or find words to express its heart warming content. Buy it and tell me you are not moved by this simplistic tale.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raymond Briggs at his very best! 7 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a child,i experianced Raymonds work in a differient manner to manny a person. This book a sheer masterpiece,exploring depths of illustration many artists have not. The story of his parents was simple,yet in great detail he would describe moments in their lifes that were not major on comparison with the rest of the story. I have loved Raymonds work since i was five.I have written to him ,and in responce,received a letter. Raymonds Work streches the minds of all young poeple alike-Raphael Verrion
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars simple and beautiful
nothing nicer than a really good book and this is lush. ideal to read with kids of any ages including older adults in care setting for reminiscence work.
Published 13 days ago by C. Spencer Weatherley
4.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Up!
This is a biography of sorts concerning the parents of author and illustrator Raymond Briggs. It follows them from meeting each other to their passing away and all the changes they... Read more
Published 20 days ago by 365 Graphic Novels
5.0 out of 5 stars much appreciate gift
Friend/recipient most appreciative. I was able to secure a signed copy which was added value. I have not seen the item.
Published 21 days ago by P Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
I was quite surprised when I came across this book by Raymond Briggs as I associated him with the snowman solely.
The story is lovely, set out in a cartoon strip form. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S Noak
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
I bought two copies, one for myself and the other for my great-nephew, who is studying the last century for History A-Level. Read more
Published 1 month ago by EP McGrath
5.0 out of 5 stars great
i bought this as a present for my mum. she appreciated it and i appreciated how quickly it was delivered. it was a good price and in excellent condition
Published 2 months ago by Mr-rix
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful and moving book
Beautifully illustrated. Ethel and Ernest (based on Briggs' parents) are believable characters, and this portrayal of their very ordinary lives is quite extraordinary.
Published 5 months ago by Jude Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic read
Beautiful book based upon Raymond Briggs' life. Wonderful illustrations. It is a travel through history. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. A. L. Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book
This cartoon strip book is absolutely wonderful. I can't see how anyone would not love it. It follows the life story of the writer with fabulous illustrations. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rachel
4.0 out of 5 stars great
A beautiful heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations. It doesnt feel like a graphic novel more like a bedtime book for all. Arrived in perfect condition.
Published 5 months ago by Yourstrulyloved
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