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Bannock, Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression
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Bannock, Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  103 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A stark, brutally honest memoir illustrated by one of the world's great cartoonists. This is a gripping and poignant memoir recounting one boy's experiences of deprivation and poverty growing up in a rural farming village during the Great Depression. The short stories are written by John Gallant and illustrated by his son Seth, better know to many as the New Yorker illustr
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Hardcover, 120 pages
Published March 31st 2004 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Sara
File this under "personal memoirs that mean more to the editor than they will to you". I'm a big fan of Seth's work, so I was excited when I came across this used at Myopic, but really there's not much to pull one into it except for Seth's beautiful layout and book design. The stories themselves, while they might have been fascinating to hear told aloud from the man who lived them, fall pretty flat for me in a book-format. Still, the introduction makes clear how important and personal this proje ...more
Josh
Sep 23, 2007 Josh added it
Rather than a vanity project for Canadian cartoonist Seth's dad, this is actually a fascinating portrait of a pioneer-type childhood. John Gallant grew up dirt poor in a remote rural part of Prince Edward Island. Taken from the stories Seth's dad told him on long car trips, the book is told in 4-5-page vignettes, interspersed with Seth's gorgeous illos. Like Seth's Wimbledon Green, the short pieces add up to an engaging story—and a pleasantly quick read.

As Seth remarks in the foreword, these tal

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Liz
more of a nice Thing-to-have, less of a nice book-to-read.
Sarah Sammis
Seth, a Canadian graphic novelist, grew up listening to his father's stories of growing up in extreme poverty on Prince Edward Island. In 2004 he put his father's stories together in a slim volume called Bannock, Beans and Black Tea.

The title refers to their basic diet, when they had money for food. Bannock is a fry bread, similar to the American biscuit but fried as a flat bread, sort of like pita or na'an.

The book is a rather bleak memoir. Gallant's family was always struggling for money and i
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Diane
This is basically a vanity book - a father's stories published by his son. The stories are about growing up on PRince Edwards Island during the depression and are very unsophisticated and have no insight or reflection. The author at age 70 plus is still angry at his father who produced 8 children but refused to work or support the family - I suspect he had some mental illness from the few description.

The book is lovely as an object -heavy off white paper with delightful green and black line ill
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Hans
Incredibly gorgeous book design--this is why I still love paper books. The author's stark depression era stories are perfectly nested with his son's crisp and stark illustrations.

It is clear that, as described in the introduction, this is a very personal work for Seth. It's impossible to value these stories as Seth did (and still does) and it's clear that they change in translation from oral stories to the written episodes. I love the collaboration of father and son and wish that I could see mo
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Damon
Wow, this was a depressing little guy. Seth talks in his introduction about how he thought these were great stories when he heard them as a kid, full of determination and adventure or something, but they seem pretty bleak in this volume. The book as a whole was beautifully designed, though, and despite being unpleasant the stories are an interesting read.
Vanessa Brown
This book solidified my adoration for Seth. I think he must be my local history soul-mate. If there was a book that connected the work of Lucy Maud Montgomery with that of Alice Munro, this gothic graphic novel would be the one to do it. Six degrees of Canadian literature.
Janice Kenny
I couldn't put the book down once I started reading it. Being a native Islander and a Gallant, these stories are similar to what I've been told by my grandparents, of what hardships they endured during those times. It made me appreciate how easy we have it, in this day and age!
Megan
I really enjoyed this. The presentation of the book with the illustrations and the style of writing and font really added to it. I thought this was really well done and a nice tribute to his dad.
Summer
Jun 22, 2007 Summer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2007
In contrast to Seth's autobiographical comic, I really enjoyed his design and editing on this book of his father's childhood stories. This book is heartbreaking and beautiful.
Alicia
Very interesting stories about life during the great depression. Rather sad.
Liz
My, what an angry little book.
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