Monday, August 3, 2009

Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

The story of Raymond Briggs's parents' marriage, from their first, chance encounter to their deaths. Told in Briggs's familiar strip-cartoon format, with nothing embroidered or altered, the book is also a social history of a kind, embracing such events as World War II and the advent of television.
Title and author of book: Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Graphic Novel. Historical Non-fiction. Biography.

What led you to pick up this book? Nymeth reviewed it and made it sound interesting.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! See above...

What did you like most about the book? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live before television? Or, to live through the events of World War II? I am sure some people that read this post will have experienced these things, but others will be like me and can only imagine. Raymond Briggs, by telling his parents story, shows what it was like to live through some of these things. It so reminded me of my grandparents. Every time something new came out they would claim they were never going to get one. When they replaced the phone in the kitchen with a key pad type, it was a joyful occasion. Now that they are both gone, though, I almost wish I had their old phone. Anyway, this book is essentially a social commentary on what it was like for the working class to adjust to all the changes in the world. By telling what it was like for his own parents, he was telling what it was like for many families. I found that very interesting!

What did you like least? You know, to be truthful, I wish this wasn't a graphic novel. It wasn't that I didn't like the format, but I guess I would have liked more detail. I was connecting with Ethel and Ernest and was sad when the story was over. I think they had a lot more to say and I would have liked to have heard more. I think that was mainly because they reminded me of my fathers' parents who are both deceased and have been for several years now.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? Nope. This is my first book.

What did you think of the main character? Like I said above, the main characters really reminded me of my grandparents. It made them likable. My grandparents would resist change at first, but next thing you knew they would have one of those new-fangled contraptions. It's hard to believe they just barely lived to see computers in mainstream use and cellphones were still just gaining popularity. I often wonder what they would think about all the things that we have started to take for granted just in the years since they passed. It was really interesting to see events that we take as just everyday through the eyes of people that were just experiencing them for the first time. I have never known a world without a television, while they were living when they first came out. I have heard countless stories about what life was like during the World Wars, but they actually were living through. It was really quite fascinating.

What about the ending? I think my only real problem with the ending is that it came too soon. I wish the book was longer. I can't really say anymore about the ending because it is a true story, so it's not like the author could change his parents life to make it different. It was the story that was meant to be and I didn't have a problem with it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the information- another book for my list!