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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 1 November 1999
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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on 7 January 1999
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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on 4 January 2013
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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on 4 December 1998
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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on 23 October 2012
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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on 16 September 2000
This is illustration at its highest. It tells the story of a couple in the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry, through drawings that capture the heart of the action. However, these drawings also show the personalities of the man and woman and draw the reader into their story. The son has created a loving memorial of his parents. I will never forget some of the drawings in this book.
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on 7 March 1999
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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on 13 March 2013
Really excellent drawings and colour, and a very gentle tale of the time that my father and mother lived through. In the 1950s, I was taken to relatives' and friends' homes that were still stuck in the same times as shown in these brilliant stories. My own father left home at 12 (1931) to work as a kitchen boy in a local posh boarding school "for young ladies", and a lot of the scenes are an accurate picture of life in those times. I'll not say any more, but if you have a mind for "visual" memories and "quaint" attitudes, this lovely little book will please no end. Thanks for reading, I hope I have helped you make your mind up. Do not forget to look at the rest of the shy Mr. Briggs' work.
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on 14 June 2014
I've grown up with Raymond Briggs' books and have never read a dull thing by him. Yet "Ethel and Ernest" is something else all together. In telling the story of his parents' lives, and how he entered the picture, he makes their fairly ordinary lives seem extraordinary and makes any reader feel there is part of their life in there somewhere. Indeed, my grandfather's name was Ernest and he looked quite like Ernest Briggs does on the cover.
There's so much to relate to in the book. There's good memories, like when you played games or sang silly songs as a child, went down to the beach or moved up to "big" school. Raymond, it seems, did all those too. Read about how Ethel always fusses over him as mothers always will, while Ernest moderates as fathers always will. Even the hard times, like scolding, embarrassments and arguments, are relatable.
There's another side of the book too. Ethel and Ernest's life together began in the 1920's and ended in the 1970's (you'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by the ending). Follow that life as they (and Raymond) go through enormous changes and end up in a world that was unimaginable at the start of the book. There's WWII of course, the fear of the nuclear shadow, the appearance of television, the moon landing; changes that can be delivered either soberly or humorously. There's a page where Ernest reads in his trusty newspaper that they're going to legalise homosexuality... but he doesn't really know what that is!
So funny, so wonderful, so sad and so much like life. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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on 8 May 2013
Like "Where The Wind Blows", this book almost made me cry over the transitory nature even of the most longstanding relationships. Almost with a single line, Briggs can capture joy and pathos. Like Ethel's and Ernest's lives , it ended far too soon.
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