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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 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 2 November 2016
Just brilliant and very moving. Unbelievably similar to my own life for I'm of age to have lived these times. Ethel uncannily like my own dear mother in her attitude to a changing world, her comments to Ernest with his perhaps 'earthy' comments, who like my father took little notice of them. So funny. Especially her desire for us children to live up to her aspirations for social mobility .
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on 27 March 2014
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 saw around them in that time. As much as it is their story it chronicles the important events of Britain including the Second World War and the founding of the Welfare State.
Told as a series of vignettes, seldom more than a page or two long, the book is more of a reminiscence than a narrative. All of these tiny fragments blend into a seamless chronological whole. Time passes imperceptibly and you get to know and care for these two people (and their son) as the book progresses.
You smile at the simple pleasures and strange attitudes of your parents or grandparents generation. You see the impact of both war and indoor plumbing and take stock of what is really important in life. Briggs also makes sure he puts some of the key emotional points of his own life in there, possibly as a form of catharsis, or an important record for his future.
The art is superb as with any Briggs book. Great attention is paid to the lettering with special borders for wireless broadcasts and a charming letter from their evacuated son. Long conversations are done in script form so as not to slow down the pictures. You can potentially see Briggs love of the colour green coming from his childhood bathroom. The book ends with a series of full page panels, some of which are mute, adding real gravitas to the closing of this heartfelt work.
Thumbs Up!
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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 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 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 27 November 2015
This is the story of Ethel and Ernest Briggs the parents of the great author of the " snowman " etc very easy to read book and about his own tragedy in his private life , made into a comic style book
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on 17 September 2015
Affectionate 'gift' to his parents from Raymond Briggs, the author of well loved 'The Snowman' etc.

Lovely illustrations and I'm looking forward to the feature film coming out, which is currently in production!
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on 8 February 2017
This book is a social commentary of the life and times of a couple born at the turn of the 20th century. It's charming, poignant, sensitively written and full of nostalgia for a bygone age, stoical people, loyal and hard working who achieved so much in their lives; I fell in love with Ethel and Ernest, loved the illustrations too. The book took me straight back to my Gran's house.
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