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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The graphic novel, Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds, is rich in multiple characters, several story lines (involving the multiple characters), suspense, totally surprising climaxes - all put together expertly by the hand and imagination of Posy Simmonds.
The drawings, alone, pull the viewer along in fascination at the facial expressions (so true to the accompanying words!), the body language of the characters (down to the most minute detail), the scenic beauty of the place depicted, and the choice of the limited color scheme - which becomes limitless in Miss Simmonds' expert hands.
A feature that is particularly endearing is the character description, at the time the character is introduced. Yes! And as this character is followed, he or she exhibits all the traits one would expect with the description. Yet, just as in real life, (and the complexity of the human psyche)there are tantalizing surprises (just when the reader thought she had the character down pat!)Maddeningly wonderful! And the fascinating ending holds the clue to, perhaps, more to come! This reader is waiting.
Hats off to Posy Simmonds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Tamara Drewe is a loose, contemporary re-staging of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, and Simmonds does a smooth job translating it to a modern-day setting. I love the look and feel of Posy Simmonds' work, a hybrid of a graphic novel and typeset prose. Her pictures integrate with the story and characters in a remarkably seamless way. Highly Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed everything about this book- the illustrations, story, even the size and format. This is a contemporary mystery/soap-opera with a fairly big cast of characters set in rural England at a writer's retreat. The book is told in first-person perspective, following a handful of characters through their intertwined story, which is apparently based on Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics), though I haven't read that one (yet!) The characters are well defined, consistent and interesting. I'm from a "literary family," and boy did I recognize some of those writer types! The story is told in blocks of text and balloon captions and the combination keep the narrative ripping along. The illustrations are excellent- well drawn, pleasing page layouts that mix it up between comic format and a scrapbook layout. The English countryside is beautifully rendered. I'm an Anglophile and a comic fan, especially graphic novels by and about women, and I just loved this book. I'm compelled to read Hardy's version next!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
This well-received graphic novel began life in serialized form, published in a British newspaper (and still online here). The soapy story is laden with rich characterization and relatable situations. A decidedly PG-13 (at the very least) tale, which may make some parents uncomfortable with its depictions of teen angst and antics, frank sexuality, and drug use (and clear consequences), Tamara Drewe is certainly no worse than sundry stories depicted within popular daytime television dramas--or Judy Blume novels.

Though "inspired" by Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd, Posy Simmonds' sublimely written and drawn story is a horse of a different color. The tragicomedy of manners and misunderstandings is set at a rural English writers' retreat, an ideal backdrop for mischief and melodrama. Owned by a couple whose marriage is problematic (to say the least), the country getaway, a farm, hosts a cast of colorful guests who interact with the pair, each other, and the local townspeople.

The title character is a once-ugly young woman whose nose job has transformed her into a seductive and flirtatious figure. The pacing is perfect for this type of tale. Affairs ensue, writerly conflicts flare, relationships are tested, and the usual melodramatic flourishes ebb and flow throughout the story. Though there are few sympathetic characters and no protagonists to speak of, the cast is generally harmless. Their self-absorption and shallowness--despite ample pretense to the contrary--mostly comes off as comic rather than venal. But Simmonds doesn't sell them (or us) short when true tragedy occurs and admirably allows it to happen rather than pull punches or portray it as more--or less--than what it really is. Overall, though, Tamara Drewe is a comedy and those elements are predominant.

Simmonds is a wonderful artist. Her fluid storytelling skills are strong and her clean, illustrative style is a delight. Great faces, landscapes, still lives, and emotions are portrayed with precision and panache. The coloring is subtle yet effective, and her language is simple yet rich and evocative.

With all the talk of web comics, Posey Simmonds took full advantage of the format and created a substantial though thoroughly entertaining and satisfying work that's fine online yet works equally well in the old-fashioned dead-trees medium too. One would hope that other newspapers and creators would similarly seize the opportunity.

-- Richard Pachter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Tamara Drewe is an intelligently-written book that employs some very creative strategies to tell its tale of infidelity and intrigue. Honestly, I felt the literary retreat setting has been way overdone in modern lit, and as a result some of the literary characters in Drewe come across as too familiar and a bit rote. The illustrations are charming, and help add a strong feeling of place and atmosphere.

But the real triumph is Simmonds' great way with dialogue and voice. Each of the characters comes across as a vivid person, with their own distinct emotions, point of view, and verbal quirks. Simmonds does an excellent job of combining prose with visuals, in the process creating what was, for me, a new approach to storytelling.

If you're looking for a graphic novel that has real depth, I recommend starting here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
No superheroes here. Nothing but real, flawed, fascinating characters. British cartoonist Posy Simmonds treats readers to this engaging, unique graphic novel. Half prose, half comic, it is a story that at first glance seems like it would drag. A bunch of writers in the countryside of England escaping the excitement of the city to focus on writing. Instead, their story is riveting, especially upon the arrival of Tamara Drewe, the central character.

Well-drawn and executed, but primarily excellent character development, "Tamara Drewe" is a joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Very interesting story. Nice drawings. Nice characters.Different point of views of the same story. Good humor too! They go through little and big drama but they keep on with life(for most of them). It is just what life is about.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This author needs to have more of her books celebrated in the USA. It doesn't matter that it's British---the theme is hilariously simillar to those who know of this 'ilk' in America! One of the best satirical graphic novelists I have come across.
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on April 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
...the audience would literally double. Because here, without pandering or indulging in cliche, is the kind of graphic novel female readers would flock to in droves. Assuming, of course, such a thing existed in American comics and was actually marketed in such a manner that the female audience was allowed to become aware of its existence.

A wonderful combination of prose and top-flight cartooning, Tamara Drewe is a story full of flawed, yet intriguing characters whose foibles actually make them more interesting. The titular character is herself more of a catalyst in the story than she is a protagonist, an approach which keeps Tamara at a distance from the reader: we are as curious and fascinated by this woman as the characters in the story whose lives are changed by her very presence (indirectly in some cases, more directly in others). It's a romance story, or rather, the story of a number of overlapping romances, but more importantly, it's a story about identity, and the exploration of same. How do we define ourselves? How do others affect that definition? How much does our concern about how others define us actually impair our ability to define ourselves in the first place? It's heady stuff, yet handled in such a light, breezy manner as to take the reader by surprise; you won't be thinking about the larger theme of the piece until you're done...the narrative itself is that compelling.

Elegantly drawn and flawlessly written, Tamara Drewe reminds us what a tragedy it is that both the US and UK comics markets let "comics for girls" die off decades ago, yet offers an encouraging template for a potential return of the form. Top marks.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic graphic novel. Will Eisner, known as the father of the graphic novel, must be rolling in his grave with pride & surprise by how many new authors & illustrators & inkers & copiers & colorists are following in his footsteps.
In this graphic novel, Simmonds, further muddies the line between novel & graphic novel. Many of her pages include more straight-forward text than they do picture cells. She's combining the two worlds & making each one better & more unique.
As a writer, I loved the storyline. A famous author & his wife, run a writer's colony, which is mainly subsidized by his earnings. The writers who come are often those whose writing has yet to see the light of publication or whose writing is in less remunerative fields; such as, poetry, academia, or long literary type novels. Throw them together and jealousy abounds.
Toss in a beautiful local girl who has returned as a minor celebrity & that jealousy over writing becomes jealousy over writing & romance & love & sex. Toss in marriage & infidelity. Toss in unrequited love from childhood onward by the good guy. Toss in randy & bored local underaged teenagers. Toss in some famous musician. Toss in some murders. Toss in brilliant dialog. Toss in well-done & some quite sexy artwork & drawings. Toss in requisite English countryside with sheep & rolling fields. Toss in recreational drugs, malignant gossip & the ever intrusive paparazzi. Mix all these ingredients up & readers have the splendid result at their fingertips.
Posy Simmonds has done herself proud.
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