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Tamara Drewe Paperback – Bargain Price, October 8, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This irresistible graphic novel by longtime Guardian cartoonist Simmonds is roughly based on Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and uses it to depict the English upper-middle class having tawdry midlife crises. Beth, the wife of renowned author Nicholas Hardiman, runs an idyllic writer's retreat where she's parlayed her skill at caring for her husband into caring for other writers. She and her literary charges barely notice the locals who, jammed on council estates, look on with envy. Enter young Tamara Drewe, a newspaper columnist famed for her post–plastic surgery beauty. With Ben, her rock-star boyfriend, and her citified ways, she knocks Beth's little group on its head and gets stalked by two local girls. After Ben leaves Tamara, she decides the already adulterous Nicholas would be a nice lay on the rebound, only he falls in love with her. The art captures British frumpiness so well it's scary; middle-age spread hulks through this book like sad weight, but it's less skilled with beauty; Tamara's looks don't sway the reader the way they sway the characters in the book. But the view on how feminism has failed in moneyed Britain is priceless. A wonderful and slightly evil book. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Flaubert homage �Gemma Bovary� with a similar contemporary remake�this time, of Thomas Hardy�s �Far from the Madding Crowd.� Affectionately satirizing contemporary literary life, she updates Hardy�s vain, ambitious beauty, Bathsheba, as Tamara, a London journalist (she�s had a nose job, carries Mulberry bags, and writes a column called �Away from It All�) who returns to a quiet village after her mother�s death. Like Bathsheba, Tamara leaves a series of the local men in her wake, including two associated with a writer�s retreat next door. Simmonds�s lushly realistic drawings and complex female characters recall those of Alison Bechdel, but her learned references and her ear for a variegated British vernacular make her unique.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 8, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0547154127
  • ASIN: B002ECEU5S
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,767,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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...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
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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Had to get this book for my Fiction and Film class for college and it was a really good read. I would get a little confused as to what bubble to read next but that's because I am not a seasoned graphic novel reader. I really liked this one though.
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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.
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