By Riad Sattouf. Published by Pantheon.
Hardcover, 168 pages, 4-Colour, 2023
The author of The Arab of the Future chronicles the hilarious and heartbreaking true life of a young girl growing up in Paris.
“Funny, well-observed…contains immense daring and depth…Sattouf has drawn a portrait of a generation.” —Observer, ”Graphic Novel of the Month”
Once a week for three years, the comic book artist Riad Sattouf had a chat with his friend’s outgoing young daughter, Esther, in which she told him about her family, her school, her friends, her hopes, her dreams, and her fears. After each meeting, he would create a one-page comic strip based on what she had said. Esther’s Notebooks gathers 156 of those strips, spanning Esther’s life from ages nine through twelve, giving us a delightful look into the daily dramas of this thoughtful, intelligent, and high-spirited girl.
As The Guardian noted: “Each page of Esther’s Notebooks is self-contained—there’s usually a neat punchline—but read them all, and you come to see that Sattouf has drawn a portrait of a generation: their hopes, dreams and cultural references; the way that their personalities, backgrounds—many of the children portrayed have parents who are immigrants—and preconceived ideas about sexuality begin to play out even before they’ve begun secondary school. The result is a bit like a cartoon version of Michael Apted’s landmark TV series, Up.