Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ethel & Ernest” as Want to Read:
Ethel & Ernest
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ethel & Ernest

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,198 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
Utterly original, deeply moving and very funny, Ethel & Ernest is the story of Raymond Brigg`s parents' marriage, from their first chance encounter to their deaths told in Brigg`s unique strip-cartoon format. Nothing is invented, nothing embroidered - this is the reality of two decent, ordinary lives of two people who, as Briggs tells the story, become representative o ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published September 3rd 1998 by Random House (first published 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ethel & Ernest, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ethel & Ernest

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,294)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Eve
May 18, 2014 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Briggs is a very famous British children's author, which I didn't realize until after I finished reading this graphic novel. It didn't surprise me though, because the rich illustrations reminded me of books I'd read as a child. They were fabulous! A tribute to his parents, this is their love story.

When they first meet in 1920s London, Ethel is in her mid 30s, and working as a lady's maid for a respectable upper class family. Ernest is a spry milkman, who loses no time in asking Ethel out on a d
...more
Loyd
I've always thought that the difference between British and American children's literature is that the British never sentimentalize childhood. Dickens was rough on children, but they always came out fine in the end. Roald Dahl was absolutely brutal. Dahl's books are populated with unfortunate children who become wounded but wiser by their adventures, such as James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and so on. Lewis Carroll was certain rough on children, and the tradition carries on in such books ...more
Jenn Estepp
Saw this recommended on the First Second blog over Christmas and instantly put in my library request for it. Such a lovely little thing, but you really should *not* finish reading it right before your break is over, because it will make you cry and then you'll have to go back to work and be all, like, "Hey man, what's up? What do you mean my eyes are red? I'm fine. Shut up." Or something. If you are at all like me anyway. So, yeah. It's pretty great. And I am a sap.
LG
Jun 11, 2011 LG rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ages
I adore this fictionalized true story. Briggs shows us scenes from his imagination of his parents’ lives: how they met, raised a family during a destructive world war, and lived through the cultural roller-coaster ride of the 20th century. Briggs’s illustrations are full of humor, marvelous detail, and obvious love for the people who inspired the title characters.
Ivan
Apr 26, 2015 Ivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A graphic memoir? Heartfelt and funny. Best of all this was a present from my friend Edel in Ireland. Thanks.
Linda
I have loved Raymond Briggs for a long time. You might know his wonderful book The Snowman, especially, but my children grew up laughing and reading the marvelous graphic picture books Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, the special times with Santa, his wife and the amusing Cat and Dog. When I heard about this graphic memoir about his parents and found it at my library, it was great news. In wonderfully detailed graphic style, Raymond tells the story of his parents, and his, ...more
Belinda Missen
Mar 24, 2016 Belinda Missen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My eyes are doing this weird thing right now; they're leaking, and I'm not sure what the deal is.

This book is so beautiful I want to hug it, and I'm sad that I have to give it back to the library. Maybe I'll keep it and tell them I lost it.

My grandmother was English, and grew up during this part of English history, so I could identify with all of this far too easily and, while Ethel drove me batty, it's such a great portrait of marriage, of life, and all the thing that go into it. My grandmoth
...more
Matthew
If you loved this review or would like to check out other iconic graphic novels here is the link of where I am discovering these books. AbeBooks: 50 Essential Graphic Novels

I got an email months ago from AbeBooks giving me this list of what they believe is the 50 essential graphic novels to read (I tend to disagree with some its choices) and I have been lazy to check them out from the library until now. I thought it would be very interesting to read this book because why would an author make a g
...more
Anna
Wasn't a fan. Won't give it a star ratings right now, because otherwise it'll be 2 stars. I need to think about it first.

What I can say now, though, is that I didn't understand half of the references and slang. Being not familiar with XX century British history, politics and everyday life wasn't a good thing as well.
I liked the art, yes, it's an interesting one, with quite bold lines and beautiful bright colours, but art was the only thing I liked, really. Text is big, but sometimes too "in-the-
...more
Shaun
Oct 13, 2014 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Poonam
May 12, 2013 Poonam rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
It is a lovely book that Raymond Briggs has written about his parents, as stated by the subtitle of the book 'True story'. Raymond himself figures as the kid of the couple but his eponymous character has been etched out dispassionately to focus on the relationship and times of his parents. However, I can easily say, the book is a labour of lover for his parents.

Book starts when his parents meet in 1928 when she is a lady's maid as she indignantly asserts and he, a sort of salesman. They meet whe
...more
Andy Bowditch
Sep 17, 2014 Andy Bowditch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Briggs is a fantastic illustrator and this book is no exception. telling the story of his parents as they grew up and lived through the second world war with a large dose of humor and sadness as well a lot of observational commentary.

I would heavily recommend this book.
Zack
Jul 08, 2009 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
I've always loved Raymond Briggs' books, from "The Snowman" and "Fungus the Bogeyman" when I was a kid to "Gentleman Jim" when I was travelling around the U.K. This story, even though it doesn't feature Briggs' characteristic flights of fancy, is just as good as any of them. The story, his own parents' courtship, marriage, and life together, is mundane: there's practically no plot save the universal narrative arc of growing old, practically no story except for the clipped conversations between t ...more
Sharon
Feb 22, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel, memoir
Lovely story of the author's parents, and consequently the story of the mid-twentieth century in England. Briggs's art beautifully conveys the sense of place.
Amanda Leclair
Jan 19, 2015 Amanda Leclair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You go through this book, reading and enjoying, but not utterly gripped. But once you finish you can't stop thinking about it!
Cheryl Baker
Feb 15, 2016 Cheryl Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful tribute to two very simple people.
Raj
Nov 28, 2015 Raj rated it really liked it
This is a charming short book in which Raymond Briggs tells the story of his parents, the Ethel and Ernest of the title, from their first chance meeting in 1928 up to their deaths, very close to each other in 1971. It's a lovely story, without much in the way of embellishment. Ernest was a working class lad, and proud of it, while Ethel was upwardly mobile and wanted more for her family. They lived through the second world war and the upheavals of the 1950s and 1960s and we see how life changes ...more
Amelia
AMAZING and HILARIOUS and DESPERATELY SAD and POLITICAL and TOUCHING and CLEVER and BEAUTIFUL and an epic story that covers TWO WHOLE LIVES and changing SOCIAL MORES and the HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY and A CHANGING WORLD and the ups and downs of MARRIAGE, the joy of BIRTH and the HEARTBREAK and LOSS of dementia and death. All in capital letters.
Hannah  Messler
Sep 24, 2013 Hannah Messler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul and I were reading in the library and I picked this up while he was looking at a trucks book. It's wonderful, it moves so quickly it's like a comic on the back of a cereal box, but like if you could just sit at the table leaning over your bowl reading for days. It's by the author of The Snowman, which, perfection.
Doug
Dec 22, 2009 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you needed an example of a graphic novel that could equal or surpass the emotional power of traditional prose, this would be the one. Not sure how he does it, but he does it. Beautiful and simple. I kept it by my bed after reading once and re-read a couple more times.
Kane S.
The ending of this book is beautiful. I just struggle with it a little bit. I get what Briggs was trying to accomplish. He conveyed the changes in Britain during the twentieth century through the experiences of his parents. But I feel like maybe his parents just weren't interesting enough characters. And maybe that's why this book is only 100 pages. There isn't much going on here.

But it's sweet and nostalgic without being naive or saccharine. And the art is very beautiful. But the reason I enjo
...more
Alan
May 08, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The true story of Raymond Briggs' parents told in comic form, taking them through the war and the post war years, told with love and attention to detail.
Anima
Mar 02, 2016 Anima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Thoroughly recommend it. A very heartbreaking comic about love, war, family, life, and of death.
Monique
Feb 10, 2014 Monique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Touching, heart-felt and funny telling of the life of Briggs' parents, their love, joys and idiosyncrasies, experiencing the major world events of the 20th Century through their London terrace house. Showing generational changes in class, society and politics. Hilarious, dynamic and exceptionally cute interactions between the mother and father: he reading out the news from the paper and she making caustic and insightful but also faintly dismissive commentary. It has all the depth of reality and ...more
Aapo
Jul 04, 2015 Aapo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sarjakuvat
Lontoon löytöjä tämäkin. Briggs kertoo vanhempiensa tarinan koskettavasti: humoristisesti mutta synkkiä kohtia väistelemättä, koko tunneskaala on käytössä. Kirjassa kuvatut äiti ja isä muistuttavat hyvin paljon Minne tuuli kuljettaa -kirjan päähenkilöitä (minkä ehkä tavallaan arvasin jo silloin vuosia sitten kun luin tuon riipaisevan ydinsotakuvauksen). Sota-ajan kuvausta on tässäkin kirjassa aika tavalla ja tässäkin rakennetaan eri tyyppisiä pommisuojia.

Klassikko. Kyllä tämänkin saisi suomentaa
...more
Jeffrey
Feb 16, 2014 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing graphic biography of Brigg's parents' lives as a couple - stupendous!
Jonathan
Jan 20, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is a truly wonderful book, telling the story of Raymond Briggs's parents' lives together. The style of his illustrations suit what is essentially a story of two ordinary people, living everyday lives. Earnest lets us know what is happening in the world via the newspapers he reads, while Ethel is dubious about the technological developments of the 20th Century that enthuse her husband so. The addition of their son Raymond brings about changes in their lives, as does the Second World War, hav ...more
Clare
Oct 13, 2015 Clare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book this is. I picked this up in a graphic novel splurge, recognising the author's name from the famous 'The Snowman' animation. The titular characters are Briggs' parents and here we follow their life through beautiful illustration and writing. Much like 'The Snowman' Briggs blends humour and poignancy in such a wonderful way and although 'Ethel and Ernest' sadly seems to be omitted from various 'Graphic Novels You Must Read' lists, but it's certainly up there amongst the like ...more
Nancy
Nov 10, 2014 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Read it for the drawings and perhaps the breezy history of home life in London from the 1920s through the 1970s. I kept expecting to feel more of a connection to this sweet couple; but I never did -- until the scene where Ernest dies. That was a punch to the gut. Grief surprised me.

I read this alongside Roz Chast's memoir, an interesting pair. Both stories are told from the child's point of view. Raymond's feels like a scrapbook of a place and time, while Roz's feels like a confessional essay on
...more
Lisa
Jun 22, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ethel and Ernest is a lovingly illustrated graphic novelized memoir of the author’s parents Ethel and Ernest Briggs. The story begins in the 1920’s with Ethel working as a housemaid and Ernest working as a bicycle courier in or around the city of London, England. The courtship begins in a way old as time, the regular crossing of paths leads to recognition, appreciation and anticipation. Engagement and marriage follow as do making a home. This home is the setting for the changing of their lives a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 76 77 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Our Cancer Year
  • Dotter of Her Father's Eyes
  • The Hospital Suite
  • Days of the Bagnold Summer
  • In the Shadow of No Towers
  • When I'm Old and Other Stories
  • The Freddie Stories
  • Kings in Disguise: A Novel
  • Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Alice in Sunderland
  • Everything We Miss
  • Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life
  • Marble Season
  • Mother, Come Home
  • Kiki de Montparnasse
  • The Playboy
  • Gemma Bovery
  • Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey
77098
Raymond Redvers Briggs is an English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He is best known for his story "The Snowman", which is shown every Christmas on British television in cartoon form and on the stage as a musical.

His first three major works, Father Christmas, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featu
...more
More about Raymond Briggs...

Share This Book