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Ethel and Ernest
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Ethel and Ernest

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,917 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
Poignant, funny, and utterly original, Ethel & Ernest is Raymond Briggs's loving depiction of his parents' lives from their first chance encounter in the 1920s until their deaths in the 1970s.Ethel and Ernest are solid members of the working class, part of the generation (Brokaw's "Greatest Generation") that lived through the tumultuous era of the twentieth century. Th ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published September 28th 1999 by Knopf (first published 1998)
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Elyse Walters
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1950-1960.... "says we've got to be HIP.
Just talk sense, Ernest.
We've got to HANG LOOSE with the CATS.
Ernest! Go to bed.
You're overtired.
I'll make the Cocoa.
You're a SQUARE. baby.
Oh Ernest...
When will you grow up?"

From 1920 to deaths in the 70's...Ethel & Ernest steal your heat!!!! The illustrations are deeply moving of love - War - parenthood - and old age.

Simply Beautiful & Precious!!!!
A short and charming story, written by the British author/cartoonist Raymond Briggs in memory of his parents Ethel and Ernest, who both died in 1971.
It's a very personal, heartfelt story of the lives of an ordinary British couple during the years 1920-1970.
Although they have differing political views and many marital squabbles, they obviously deeply care for each other.
This is a great, whimsical character study of a common married couple as well as an excellent social study of British working
David Schaafsma
I have read Briggs's silent picture book masterpiece, The Snowman, and seen an animated film based on it many times. So I am glad to have read this rather different story about how Briggs imagines his parents's 43 years together. It's a British working class marriage between a maid and a milkman, that became a Tory/Labour house, though not ever very strained, politically or otherwise. This is a loving tribute to his parents and also a cultural and social history of sorts, from roughly 1930 throu ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gettinggraphic
This story is a memoir of Raymond Briggs' parents living their lives in an extraordinary time. What I enjoyed about this was that it was VERY British (which of course connected with me) and that they felt so 'normal'. This couple isn't famous or wealthy or anything too out of the ordinary, they just have to keep on getting by whilst the wars happen and technology changes and politics shifts all around them. They kind of represent most British people's grandparents I would imagine, or maybe even ...more
Dov Zeller
This is the first book I've read by Briggs and I'm so glad I picked it up. It's based on the story of Briggs's parents, their life in London from the 1930s until the the early 1970s. When the book begins Ethel is a lady's maid cleaning a window and Ernest a milkman riding by on his bike. They get to waiving to each other when he rides by and soon enough he's asked her to the movies. As economic and political climates change and war comes and goes it becomes clear that they each have their own pe ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was poignant!

Ethel and Ernest follows the lives of Raymond Briggs' parents throughout the decades, with each section divided into 10 year chunks. The story opens when they first meet, Ethel is a ladies maid and spots Ernest on his bike; he looks up and notices her at the window, and the rest, they say, is history. Ethel leaves her job and they set up home together.

Whilst the story was heart-warming and quite tender in places, I couldn't help but notice the political discrepancies betw
This book is written by Raymond Briggs and it follows the true story of his parents. It follows their lives throughout WWII and the very politically active world during that time and the changes they make, the sacrifices they make etc. It has various artistic elements to it which are commendable: in other words, I really liked the art style! :-)

This was nice enough! There is a very emotionally poignant side to it...according to other people's reviews. As far as I'm concerned, this is a comic str
Short story about the author's parents. We see a little bit of how they court, buy a home and build their dreams in it, how they form a family. Apparently, the author's parents were already up in age when they met and married and his mom was only able to have one child or run the risk of dying if she were to attempt to have more children.

There were some funny moments but I also didn't get a lot of the jokes, language, or historical references when they referred to England.

There were a lot of s
Elizabeth A
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This graphic memoir/ biography is about the author's parents from the time they met in the 1920s until their deaths in the 1970s. Ethel worked as a chambermaid, Ernest a milkman, and this is the story of their life together during the large and small political and social changes of their day in Britain.

I loved the art and colors in this one, and was delighted by the clear affection the author has for his parents. It was fun to read about the couple's dynamics, and this is a wonderful tribute to
Katie Lumsden
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like this. It's a lovely graphic biography and combines a very personal moving story with the wider history of the mid-20th century. A very enjoyable read.
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 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
Jun 10, 2011 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.
Elli (The Bibliophile)
This heart-warning graphic novel tells the story of Raymond Briggs' parent. It is through their eyes that we witness the major events of the 20th century. This is a touching read about love, and about coping with the changes that happen to our world as we age. It was a quick read, but quite powerful. At times it did feel like the story jumped from major event to major event and I would have maybe liked it to be longer and include a bit more about their lives. It was a very cute read, however, an ...more
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of Raymond Briggs' parents life together, from first meeting to their final moments. What an incredible achievement this book is: it captures such deep truth and resonant emotion in deceptively simple scenes and images. Briggs takes the mundane moments that make up a life and shows how they all, every one of them, make life the indescribable thing that it is. I can't get over how brilliant this book is.
Gary Butler
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
58th book read in 2016.

Number 430 out of 551 on my all time book list.

Review Pending:
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An amazing graphic biography of Brigg's parents' lives as a couple - stupendous!
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a marriage from the 1930s to 1970s. Here they are in the late 50s (their age, as well as the century's):

- Here, Et, listen. It says we've got to be HIP.
- What?
- GROOVY, babe. And REAL COOL.
- Just talk sense, Ernest.
- We've got to HANG LOOSE with the CATS.
- Cats?
- Ernest! Go to bed. You're overtired. I'll make the cocoa.

Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is so sweet and cute, from building their house together to their everyday conservation and argument, I just adore everything. And I LOVE the art style, i think it is the best art style I've ever seen in a graphic novel.
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
Alastair Hudson
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a child I loved Briggs' Father Christmas books. The intimate glimpse into another life, full of ordinary details that made his character so human.
There's real comfort in Briggs' books, wrapped up in a thin shell of anarchic Iconoclasm. No other artist of Graphic novels/Comic books (there must be a better term...) that I know describes human life with such a deft and subtle hand.
I read this to my children (6 and 8) as bedtime reading. It was slow going as so much needed explaining; possibly th
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A graphic memoir? Heartfelt and funny. Best of all this was a present from my friend Edel in Ireland. Thanks.
Sophie Crane
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Quite An Emotional Tale.
First sentence: Monday 1928. Tuesday. Wednesday. Ethel! For heaven's sake! Where ARE you? Coming Madam. Thursday. ETHEL! Friday. Saturday. How about coming to the pictures with me?

Premise/plot: Ethel and Ernest is a biographical graphic novel based on the author's own parents. It begins with their courtship in 1928 and ends with their deaths in 1971. Their courtship serves as a prologue. The novel is then broken down into decades: 1930 to 1940, 1940 to 1950, 1950 to 1960, 1960 to 1970, 1970 to 1
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, non-fiction
Ethel & Ernest: a true story by Raymond Briggs tells the story of a chance encounter that lasts for a lifetime. Briggs colorful and loose art exists in panels alongside the text throughout the novel. Text is presented in speech bubbles for the most part, with back-and-forth dialogue shown in white space with no lines to confine them. Briggs uses all caps and increased font size to draw attention to certain words, drawing the reader's eye to give more impact to their content.

Ethel & Ernes
The book arrived on Saturday and I finished it in one sitting on the way to the airport to pick up my family. While the concept of tracking the lifetime of a couple from marriage to death has been done to death in literature and cinema, I still found this work to be heart-warming. It could be the fact that I could see my wife and myself in most of the situations mentioned in the book – moving into a new house, deciding on the furniture, deferring purchases, celebrating small accomplishments, rai ...more
James Benham
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
A Journey through modern British history told from the perspective of a couple: Ethel and Ernest. This is a true story and reflects a lot of the socio-political views of the times. A great way of learning more about British history in a very accessible medium. I did have to slog through it a little bit but children may well find it more engaging than a history book or something similar.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Beautiful. A story of normal people, living through the twentieth century. This book is a wonderful tribute to Raymond Briggs parents, their love, their life, the beauty of an ordinary life, well lived.
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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