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

Ethel & Ernest

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  839 ratings  ·  118 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 1,463)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
Jun 11, 2011 LG rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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-
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Bowditch
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.
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
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.
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 Simmans
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
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.
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
An amazing graphic biography of Brigg's parents' lives as a couple - stupendous!
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
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
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: When I found out about "When the Wind Blows" I checked to see if Briggs had any other adult graphic novels and found this one. I was immediately drawn to the topic and requested it through ILL.

This is just a simply charming book. Briggs pays homage to his parents in a way I guess we all wish we had the talent to do so. While a biography of his parents, it also includes his own life story as far as it affected his parents, until the time of their death and in a way also shows
This is such an underrated little gem! The artwork is fantastic as it reminds you of pastel coloring (I have always loved coloring using pastels as a child, definitely better than crayons) and the colors are so vibrant and warm. Briggs interpretation and retelling of his parents' lives is wonderful, optimistic and true. I was drawn to the story because it included the World War 2 themes and about the Holocaust (I have this bias for those books) but this is a book unlike any other. This book is a ...more
Dani Peloquin
This graphic novel is a true story about his parents' relationship from their first meeting in the 1920s to both of their deaths in the 1970s. I chose this graphic novel because it was written and illustrated by the author of The Snowman which I read as a child. The Snowman was a story told entirely through pictures and was without any words. It is for this reason that I decided to read this graphic novel because I was curious how he would handle an adult story. Though Briggs does not tell of th ...more
Emilia P
Awwwwww. Stories about your parennnnts. The dude who wrote/drew/imagined/created The Snowman, one of the best winter/Christmas tales of all time, tells the story of his brave, clever, often optimistic, occasionally grumpy parents. They get together after WWI, buy a house, fix it up, put in a garden, curtains, eventually a gas stove, eventually an electric fridge and, ugh, a TV!... they have a kid (Raymond), send him off to the countryside during WWII, build an air raid shelter, make it through t ...more
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
Briggs famous for his beautiful handdrawn storybooks for children of all ages like ''The snowman'', 'Father Christmas'' , ''The bear''gives us here the funny and moving story about how his patents met and their life till their deaths.
As always a lot see see in his detailed pictures.
Ok I liked this graphic novel memoir a lot but didn't love it.
I love the style of drawings but felt that the book moved on too fast from each section and left me wanting more by the end.
The storyline was good and flowed well from each section/time period. I just felt it could have had more bulk to it to make it a better read.
Although saying that I would recommend it to anyone who likes graphic novel memoirs or Raymond Briggs other books.
Megan Wiffen

The book Ethel and Ernest is about the journey of their marriage, from the first time they met to their deaths. We see the days of the Second World War, the arrival of television and all changes which made a difference to Ethel and Ernest’s lives. This story is set out in a cartoon strip, which is engaging and completely different to anything I had read before.

I would read this book to upper KS2. I would encourage them to read the book independently as well as in a class, so they could explore t
Cynthia Egbert
I would have to call this the original graphic novel! I am grateful to Karen for discovering it and I am equally grateful that our library did not offer me much hope of finding this book so I had to get online and find a used copy that I could purchase. I want this one in my collection. It says so much in so few words. One of the most powerful books I will read this year. I absolutely fell in love with these two characters. If you can get your hands on this one, I cannot recommend it highly enou ...more
Jo Everett
A beautifully illustrated, charming story about Briggs's parents. It's the sort of book you can pick up and put down when you want to fill a few minutes of your time, but once you open the front cover you won't be able to put it down!
John Drumm
As my stars say, it was "ok". I didn't enjoy it that much, while the ending is sad and tragic, it strangely enough was the only good part of this graphic novel. I would love to tell Raymond Briggs that putting explanation points at the end of every sentence doesn't make the book exciting, in fact it gives the effect of pointless repetition. Also call me cold-hearted but the characters are not exactly that likeable. They have their moments but their opinions, while real, just were annoying to me. ...more
Bonnie Gayle
Jul 06, 2007 Bonnie Gayle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: graphic novel fans, cozy historical fiction fans
This is from the author and illustrator, of the popular children's book, The Snowman. He uses his soft illustration style again, but this book details his own parents' life together during the World Wars and beyond. The reviews on the back cover raved that this would teach more about history than any class, and that you would want to read it again and again, but I didn't feel quite so strongly about it. It was CUTE and all that, but I felt that the 'story' of it was rather disjointed, and most o ...more
Ethel & Ernest is the true story of the parents of Raymond Briggs, from when they met, till their death.

Briggs covers almost 50 years in about 100 pages, but the moments he touches on give you a really clear picture of his parents (he himself plays only a minor part in the story of their lives for this story). His parents weren't extraordinary by any means, but I was satisfied by hearing the complete story of a couple from beginning to end. We don't know everything about them, but I think it
كوميك اوتوبيوغرافي-شخصي عن حياة ابويه
لا يتسم بالعمق التاريخي كما "ماوس" و"بيرسوبوليس"، ولكنه يوثق علاقة زوجان منذ ألتقيا كخادمة ومزع علب حليب، الى كبر سنهما.
عندما تمددت الأم على سرير المشرحة، أصابني نوع من الغرابة... هل هذه الجثة العجوز هي نفس المرأة الشابة التي تعرفنا عليها في البداية..
جميل أن أرى كيف يوثق ابن مراحل نمو والديه، وكيف يصور نفسه على الهامش، شخص هيبي يطيل شعره ويغصب من أمه كلما قالت له:
" هاك مشطل لتمشط به شعرك"
في الخلفية، لفتات الى الحقبة التاريخية التي عاشها أبواه منذ التقيا، مرور
What beautifully illustrated book. It is extremely moving and detailed causing me to crying for a long amount of time after reading it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 48 49 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Our Cancer Year
  • Days of the Bagnold Summer
  • The Greatest of Marlys
  • Mother, Come Home
  • When I'm Old and Other Stories
  • Cancer Vixen
  • Mom's Cancer
  • Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life
  • The Property
  • Alice in Sunderland
  • Everything We Miss
  • Kiss and Tell: A Romantic Résumé, Ages 0 to 22
  • Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles
  • Funny Misshapen Body
  • Kiki de Montparnasse
  • Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me
  • Get a Life
  • Girl Stories
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 about Raymond Briggs...
The Snowman Father Christmas Fungus the Bogeyman When the Wind Blows Gentleman Jim

Share This Book