Read Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds Online


Posy Simmonds, Britain’s best-loved cartoonist and the author of Gemma Bovery, has now created the irresistible Tamara Drewe, a graphic novel that delightfully skewers modern mores and manners with great wit and understanding for the foibles of humanity.Loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe follows a year at Stonefield, a bucolic writePosy Simmonds, Britain’s best-loved cartoonist and the author of Gemma Bovery, has now created the irresistible Tamara Drewe, a graphic novel that delightfully skewers modern mores and manners with great wit and understanding for the foibles of humanity.Loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe follows a year at Stonefield, a bucolic writer’s retreat run by Beth and Nicholas Hardiman, where Dr. Glen Larson, an American professor and struggling novelist, is staying. The ambitious young Tamara Drewe, mourning the loss of her mother, has returned to her family home nearby. A bookish girl not so long ago, Tamara is now a gossipy columnist at a London paper and undeniably sexy. She quickly has every man in the vicinity—Glen, Nicholas, and the handyman, Andy—falling at her feet, while teenage best friends Casey and Jody become infatuated with Tamara and her ex-rock-star fiancé, Ben. Meanwhile, long-suffering Beth sees to the needs of the writers while managing the farm, the household, and the many affairs of her husband, a best-selling detective novelist.Perhaps even more satisfying than your favorite nineteenth-century novel, with its fine, expressive drawings, deft storytelling, and nods to both the past and the present, yet unlike anything that has come before, Tamara Drewe is that rare graphic novel for grownups.Posy Simmonds is the author of many books for adults and children, including the widely acclaimed Gemma Bovery. A. N. Wilson called Gemma Bovery a “work of genius” and more than one reviewer suggested that it should be entered for the Booker Prize. Simmonds has contributed a series of weekly cartoon strips to the UK’s Guardian since 1977 and has won international awards for her work. She lives in London....

Title : Tamara Drewe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780547154121
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tamara Drewe Reviews

  • Ilse
    2019-05-21 20:32

    After this year’s sexism row about the all-male shortlist for the Grand Prix at the international comics festival of Angoulême, the festival this week announced that Posy Simmonds will preside over the Grand Jury of the 2017 edition. The other members of the Jury comply with gender parity, which is hopefully a breakthrough in helping female authors of graphic novels to get the attention they deserve. This news stirred me to read Simmonds’s delightful graphic novel Tamara Drewe once more. Having finally read Far from the Madding Crowd a few months ago, a reread of this juicy graphic novel, loosely inspired by the novel by Thomas Hardy turned out even more amazing and gratifying then the first time. Set in a sleepy village in the countryside, adventures and intrigues are entwined with life in a luxurious writer’s retreat – a farm hosting would-be writers at the edge of the village, run by Beth and Nicolas Hardiman - a thriving and libidinous crime writer. The return to the village of a former village girl, Tamara Drewe – metamorphosed in a long-limbed, nose-jobbed, utterly attractive and charming young woman, disturbs the apparent calm of the little community. When Tamara decides to come over each weekend to live in her childhood’s house in the village, she starts troubling the lives of a triumvirate of suitors, playing with them like a modern Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine in Hardy’s story - unwillingly blighting the lives of other villagers also.In her contemporary retelling of Hardy’s novel, Simmonds playfully broaches themes like creativity, love, lust, adultery and loyalty. Her graphic novel is also enjoyable without having read Hardy first: apart from the enthralling narrative, she presents visually superb character portrayals and does not shy away from a touch of sharp social criticism rooted in the strained relationship between the rich newcomers and the working-class locals and in the confrontation of the townish way of life and rural boredom (personalised by two teenage village girls). Anyway, from the rocking-horse when Andy Cobb/Gabriel Oak first sets eyes on Tamara/Bathsheba to the mock Valentine card substituted by a skanky e-mail, spotting the numerous pictorial and wordy references and witty parallels to Hardy’s novel is great fun – as well as comparing the characters, who aren’t quite unequivocally likeable, like the ones in Hardy’s novel. This slightly soapy tale on the powerful and tragicomic spell a woman can cast on men offers delectable and outstanding entertainment.

  • karen
    2019-06-06 03:24

    fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #4: a comic written and drawn by the same person(although i could also count it for #15: a one-sitting book or #18: a comic that isn’t published by marvel, dc, or image.)extra points given to me, by me, for choosing a book that i have owned for more than a year. review to come.

  • Jane
    2019-06-19 01:44

    Where I got the book: my bookshelf.I'm not sure how well known Posy Simmonds is over here in the US; I've been collecting her adult graphic work since the 1980s when she had a much-loved comic strip in The Guardian. Tamara Drewe is a full-length graphic novel that deals, as Simmonds' work very often does, with the English literary life and the coveted status symbols of the country weekend cottage and, in the case of Gemma Bovery, the "little place in France."Here literature and country life overlap in the shape of a writer's retreat. I haven't yet been to one of these wonders (although I get regular email newsletters from one) but try to imagine a country haven with the service of a five-star hotel, filled with wannabe authors prepared to pay through the nose to have nothing to do but write and, if they wish, socialize. The retreat is run by frumpy but efficient Beth, whose husband Nick is a successful author prone to letting his lust wander and leaving every detail of his professional life to Beth so that he has space to write. Into the mix steps Tamara, once a rather plain girl from the village but now transformed by a nose job and the glamor of London life; Casey and Jody, two village girls who have nothing to do but hang around the bus shelter watching the weekenders' flashy cars roll by; and Glen, an American academic working on an overdue novel. The outcome is hilarious, tragic, and inevitable.Simmonds has found a wonderful way of combining the elements of a graphic novel and regular text. If you don't like graphic novels, this one will reconcile you to the art; it is entirely grownup and sophisticated, often nastily poignant and horribly realistic. I could hear the rain striking the muddy paths and smell the cow pats and rank grass. Simmonds is quick to reveal the ordinariness, sometimes ugliness, behind our disguises; beautiful women are always made not born, country life is made up of quaint cottages with expensive alarm systems (because they're often uninhabited) while the real villagers live on squalid council estates and have to drive miles to the nearest town to shop and eat.Death, for Simmonds, comes in mundane forms; characters may achieve moments of magnificence or grand tragedy but they're never allowed to hold on to them. Everything's a facade; even the countryside is just a pretty backdrop for the lives of its transient owners when they want to get away from their real lives in London. It helps to be English to read these novels, but I think they should be more widely known in the US. Brilliant.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-05-29 01:38

    I am on a graphic novel kick this weekend, but don’t worry, I have a week of Grossmith, Dostoevksy and Nicola Barker lined up, so normal service will be resumed. This one is known mostly in the UK and was serialised in The Guardian, then turned into a movie with the brilliant Roger Allam and Tamsin Greig. Being a parochial, very English piece gives it little international appeal but it is spiky and witty in a BBC Radio 4 sort of way. The movie irons out several crinkles in the original, such as the fate of the arrogant rock drummer, Jody’s death by huffing computer polish, and bringing about a happier ending for the bearded American. Very unHardylike, perhaps, but I love my underdogs to win. The plot concerns a writer’s retreat in the English countrywide, probably somewhere like Devon, and the various adulterous hijinks that take place after a local beauty returns with her crooked nose fixed to stir up trouble. Lots of fun. See the movie if you can.

  • Alex
    2019-05-29 22:17

    Strong examination of rural life suffers from the blurb description "that rare graphic novel for adults". I am unfamiliar with the literary precedents of Thomas Hardy so I cannot examine the novel on that level, nor can I see how it could adequately be translated to a film (admittedly Gemma Arterton is the perfect fit for the title role).A mixture of first person narrative, newspaper articles and comic sections, Tamara Drewe encapsulates a year in the lives of three narrators, their relationships to each other and the countryside. Tamara Drewe is not one of the characters given her own internal voice - she is only conveyed through dialogue and the perceptions of others. Consequently, some key relationships are only ever experienced second hand, a sort of voyeurism even when the page is open to only two characters and the reader.Tamara Drewe is wispy and slight but at the end it feels like you've consumed something of great worth. It has the capacity to surprise by its simple unorthodoxy, and it allows the reader to delight in several situations. Unfortunately Posy Simmonds is not quite up to the task of implying action on a key page, but otherwise everything ties together nicely - except for the horrible font used for Casey's passages.It's a quick read by design, the sort of thing that would suit a rainy winter's day perfectly - but any day will suffice.PS. Posy Simmonds doesn't understand what the BCC function on an email is and how it works. This distresses me.

  • Laure
    2019-05-22 20:34

    This was an amazing read. Funny, entertaining, tragic, cynical. You smell the country and you hear the British accent - with cows in the background. In the beginning, I felt a bit skeptical towards the non-classical form of the book, half-written and half-drawn, but this allowed for more details, more feelings, and also an additional kind of humour to be inserted in the story. And the story itself is great! (made me think of Louise Rennison's "Georgia Nicholson", for older readers).

  • Marissa
    2019-05-26 00:35

    I've never read Far From the Madding Crowd, which this comic is loosely based on, so I'll have to respond on the merits of it on its own. The characters are well-drawn and the plot well-crafted. I will say, even though Tamara Drewe seems like she's supposed to be the main character (hence the title), in many ways she is the least developed. This lack of development seems intentional to enhance the tension, but since so much of the plot centers on her, her shallowness can be distracting. Like a lot of attractive leading female characters, there's a hollowness behind the face, and less central characters are left to do the work of infusing most of the personality and humanity into the story.SPOILER ALERT BELOWIn terms of the ending, Nicholas' death is a little too convenient, if unexpected. I mean, trampled by cows? For real? And Jody's death seems unnecessary and tacked on, although I guess it is the catalyst that ties all the characters together at the end. And of course, as the book CONSTANTLY FORESHADOWS, Tamara randomly ends up with the guy she probably should have been with all along with very little ceremony or attempt at explanation for why she didn't at least give him a shot at the beginning. Meh. The interesting characteristic of Posy Simmonds' writing is how clear the scaffolding underneath it is. You are very conscious of how the prose runs and the sequential logic of the plot even when you might not know how it will all turn out. I can't decide if this is a good quality or a bad one. Overall though, it was a compelling read with a lot of nice details. Recommended.

  • Blair
    2019-05-29 00:38

    Posy Simmonds' graphic novel, originally serialised in the Guardian's Review supplement, follows the chain of events that unfolds when the eponymous Tamara Drewe - a former wallflower who, via plastic surgery and increased confidence, has transformed herself into a stunning and much-desired woman - returns to her parents' country home. There, her life fatefully intersects with a number of local residents, most significantly the inhabitants of a nearby literary retreat; its married owners, Nicholas and Beth Hardiman; and a pair of bored teenage girls, Jody and Casey.I devoured this every week in its original comic-strip format, and loved it even more second time round - I literally couldn't put the book down until I'd finished reading. The plot unfolds in both words and pictures, with the author using a number of different narrative voices to tell the story from different angles. The combination of styles makes for fantastic storytelling; Simmonds captures body language and facial expressions perfectly in her illustrations, and her narration is never anything less than totally convincing (the way she skips between fiftysomething, middle-class Beth Hardiman and fifteen-year-old, working-class Casey, without ever losing a trace of authenticity, is particularly impressive). The fact that this is a graphic novel takes nothing away from the fact that it is also a brilliant, compelling, always believable story. I would recommend it to everyone; it's a book I know I will enjoy over and over again.

  • Gary Butler
    2019-06-06 03:42

    74th book read in 2017.Number 632 out of 638 on my all time book list.One of the most boring books I have ever opened.

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-06-21 02:22

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)As the graphic novel gets older and older as an artistic format, it of course continues to become more and more diverse and interesting as well, and with there being with each passing year more and more types of full-length image-based narrative tales out there for all of us to enjoy; take for example British writer/illustrator Posy Simmonds, who has been creating a whole series of long-form serial tales for the UK Guardian newspaper since the early 1980s, tales that like the late Victorian Age tend to gently poke fun of the suburban middle-class, told not in a traditional comic-book style but rather as an intriguing blend of images and text, often alternating paragraph by paragraph from comics to the written word all the way down a page. It's the exact kind of thing for those interested in the graphic-novel format, but who don't have a penchant for the the types of subjects that usually make up the medium (superheroes, post-apocalyptic worlds, etc etc), and it's no surprise that she's one of the best known graphic artists on the planet right now among her fellow middle-aged urban intellectuals.Her latest project for the Guardian, in fact, is a rather direct interpretation of an actual late-Victorian book, Far From the Madding Crowd by our old pal Thomas Hardy; her contemporary version is entitled Tamara Drewe, originally published serially in 2005 and '06, then with a British hardback version in '07 and paperback in '08, then finally with the American version in '09, which is why you're just now starting to see it reviewed in the US. And indeed, Simmonds starts out right on the first page with a highly smart and fascinating adaptation decision: she decides to keep the small-town sheep-farm setting of Hardy's original, but instead of the characters being actual feuding sheep farmers like in his book, in Drewe they are all upper-middle-class Londoners who have moved into refurbished sheep farms in order to "get away from it all," kind of like in America the rash of New Yorkers who all now live in WiFi-equipped rustic barns upstate.This was incredibly wise of Simmonds to do, because it allows her to retain all the humorous and pointless village infighting that makes Hardy's book so adored, even while updating the circumstances to make things both more believable and relatable to her middle-class London readers; for example, in her version the story sort of spiritually revolves around a writers' retreat called Stonefield, made out of one of these rehabbed sheep farms just mentioned, which gives Simmonds the opportunity to introduce all kinds of funny, snotty intellectual types into this rural environment. Like the original, the plot itself revolves around the machinations of a young, self-destructive ingenue (the Tamara Drewe of the book's title), who in this case is a hipster columnist for a Guardian-type liberal London newspaper, who splits her time between her city flat and her aunt's old rural cottage; over the course of the 150-page manuscript, then, she ends up in complicated relationships with a former famous rock guitarist now down on his luck, the Scott-Turow-type wealthy (and married) crime novelist who actually owns Stonefield, the hunky and noble local farmhand who actually tends to all these sheep that are still around for the picturesque pleasure of the city refugees, and more.Simmonds uses this beguiling antihero and her various entanglements to then spin the tale of the entire town around it -- the bored teens who are the catalyst behind most of the story's drama, the various writers who are in and out of the retreat, the put-upon wife of the crime novelist who is the one actually holding the retreat together, etc. By the end it adds up to a highly complex, highly entertaining look at one small British community, the kind of project you can only get away with by being given two years to let the story organically grow, and I have to say that it's almost like magic that Simmonds ends up with such a thoroughly Victorian-feeling novel by the end of it all, despite you hardly ever thinking of Victorianism when actually reading any particular page. It was a true delight, and comes recommended not just to existing comics fans, but also as that fabled "One Graphic Novel You Should Read This Year, If You're The Type Who Only Reads One Graphic Novel A Year." Out of 10: 9.3

  • Anna
    2019-05-27 00:45

    For a Thomas Hardy novel, “Far From the Madding Crowd” is a lighthearted romp: though it’s full of darkness and death, at least the two main characters, shepherd Gabriel Oak and independent beauty Bathsheba Everdene, remain alive and wed at the denouement. Posy Simmonds’ bang-up graphic novel “Tamara Drewe,” a riff on “Madding,” is far funnier and less bleak than its inspiration, but she doesn’t shy away from modern takes on Hardy’s themes of jealousy, unintended consequences, and the ennui of rural life.“Tamara Drewe” is set at Stonefield, a writers’ retreat in the English countryside, run by philandering mystery novelist Nicholas Hardiman and (mostly) his patient wife Beth. The eponymous heroine has returned to the neighborhood after her mother’s death, and is making a splash: Tamara’s had a nose job, and it’s changed her attitude, her wardrobe, her whole outlook. She’s simultaneously bemused and excited by the new attention she gets from men, which she documents in a wry column for a London newspaper. Local landscaper Andy Cobb, who’s always loved her, doesn’t suit her new lot, and she takes up with indie rocker Ben Sergeant, much to the delight of the neighborhood gossips—and the teenage torment of local girl Jody Long, who’s sure her musical idol would overlook the age difference if he’d just give her a chance...That’s the set-up, told masterfully in a combination of text, news clippings, and loose-jointed pen-and-ink drawings. Like Hardy’s original, it’s a prankish missive that serves as catalyst for the unraveling of the characters’ relative happiness, when Jody and her friend Casey break into Tamara’s house in her absence and send a fateful email from her laptop: Ben, Nicholas, and Andy all get the sentence, “I want to give you the biggest shagging of your life.” Reactions—and tragedy—ensue.Like Simmonds’ previous reimagined classic, “Gemma Bovery,” art and text tell the story from different points of view; while the drawings are more or less omniscient, the narrative of “Tamara Drewe” is told mostly by peripheral characters: Beth, Casey, struggling American novelist Glen Larson, a frequent guest at Stonefield. This allows her to play with dramatic irony, who knows what when, and pulls us into the plot as curious eavesdropper. Smart, funny, honest, and mature, “Tamara Drewe” is a superlative book.

  • jess
    2019-05-31 20:25

    Apparently they are making a movie out of this book? I will probably go see it even though it will likely be terrible. I picked the book up because it was on a Flashlight Worthy list of Best Graphic Novels about Women and you know how I love women, right? Anyway, on to the book. This is the story of a pretty, young newspaper journalist who shakes up the small British town where she grew up when she returns to her family's home. The action takes place over the course of a year at a writers retreat, next door to Tamara's home. Her rockstar boyfriend, her nose job & cosmopolitan style capture the attention of everyone in town, especially two teenage girls who have a "fuck you/be you" complex directed at Tamara's life.This story started slow and I was kind of "yawn" through the first half. It was pedantic and sort of painful, the emotional burden, boredom and numbness of people flubbing their way through the middle part of their lives. In the second half, the characters got more interesting. They make (often incredibly bad) decisions, behave immorally & treat each other terribly just like real people. By the second half, I was sucked in and started to actually like Tamara Drewe. The climax felt like it came too soon, crashing down around my tender feelings & my fascination with the town gossip. I wasn't ready to let go when the story ended. And then! The ending was too tragic and shocking for the scope of the narrative. If the book had not been so earnest, so pastoral and rural, so small-town and sincere, the grandiosity of the tragedy could have seemed appropriate. The scale of the disastrous ending far exceeded what I anticipated. Oh, Posy Simmons, I didn't think you had it in you. The teen girl characters were my favorites, always insinuating themselves into spaces that aren't meant to accommodate them in the way that rascally teens do. I liked the limited comments on celebrity and fame through the second-rate rockstar boyfriend -- the way that someone who is not very famous can seem more famous when they are accessible to you, and the way that celebrity can disrupt the important things like love and, well, life.

  • Ariella
    2019-06-10 03:21

    This book was about how men make women objects, and how women feel pressurised by men and other women to conform to their expectations. This was made abundantly clear to me by the daughter of the main character, who appeared every now and again, and, in the guise of explaining to her mother her PhD, explicitly stated the themes of the book. I think this book would have been stronger if we had some grasp on the main character. She appears quite late in the work--as do the novels two other more interesting characters, the local girls. We have no sense of her motivation a lot of the time, particularly her reason for dating the ex-band member. She appears to kiss him because she wants the details of the band's spilt, yet the goes on to set up house with him. We never have a sense of her wants or needs. I think this adds to her objectification, rather than her resistance to it, undermining the (explicitly stated) themes of the novel.The use of blocks of texts and images made both seem redundant at times. Surely the point of graphic novel is that the pictures can carry much of the story? The drawing style too was sometimes a little off, particularly the characters facial expressions. Tamara frequently looked worried and/or perplexed without cause from the surrounding scene. This added to her blankness as a character.And the ending? Terrible.

  • Hillary
    2019-06-17 01:31

    I'd almost give this 5 stars. Picked it up in the library on a whim, knowing nothing about Simmonds, and was very impressed. It's not laid out like a traditional paneled comic, and there's rather a lot of text, but the narration by different characters (serif v sans-serif, which is clever) really adds something and her delicate art is lovely. Those two things would be enough, but she's thrown in a smart and twisty story of affairs and death and nosiness. There are some choices I'm not sure are right, and those are the ones that knock it back to a mere strong 4 stars, but it's a beautiful book and worth your time.

  • Alexis
    2019-05-30 01:42

    combined with reading this piece in New York Magazine (, I fell into a long running contemplation of (in)fidelity, self-esteem, trust, and marriage in general. If you are really attached to your huffing habit you might want to avoid reading this graphic novel- not graphic in that way but still. I read and enjoyed Simmonds' Gemma Bovary about a year ago or more. I enjoyed this one more although the discovery of Simmonds' work then was more of a joy as it was all new to me.

  • Anto Tilio
    2019-05-24 22:40

    3.5Bueno me llevó su tiempo terminarlo, pero es que el estilo en el que la autora cuenta la historia con mucho texto en ocasiones, recortes de diarios, cartas, etc. volvían la lectura más pesada de lo esperado.Tamara Drewe vuelve a su hogar familiar levantando revuelo en este pueblito inglés en el que nunca pasa nada interesante. Seguimos su historia que revolotea alrededor de sus amoríos. Después tenemos la estancia Stonefield del famoso escritor Nicholas Hardiman y su esposa Beth, a la que han convertido en un retiro idílico para escritores. Y entre los escritores el principal es Glen, que viene alargando desde hace tiempo el trabajo de su novela y adora hospedarse en Stonefield. También tenemos a Andy, el jardinero manitas de la estancia que está enamorado de Tamara desde que era chico. Y por último tenemos a Casey y Jody, dos adolescentes que aburridas de la vida pueblerina empiezan a espiar a Tamara y descubren varios enredos de todo tipo que ocurren en esa parte del pueblo.Las historias enredadas siempre tienen ese no sé qué que me gusta, y ya me parecía que no iba a terminar bien la cosa. No con Tamara el imán de atención ni con Nicholas Hardiman y sus aventuras extramatrimoniales. Pero el clímax resultó estar más cargada de tragedia de la que me esperaba. Una parte de la tragedia no me molestó, la otra fue desafortunada.Y el final, bueno luego de la marea viene la calma. Y con todo el ajetreo que se arma con los hechos que agitan a este pueblito las cosas van cayendo en su lugar como por arte de magia, o por obra del destino, o porque la vida sigue y eso tenía que pasar. Quién sabe?

  • Anna
    2019-06-03 01:24

    Loved it. Could not put it down. It is cosy and charming and almost painful to read due to how incredibly well observed and realised it is. It is as if Posy Simmonds has managed to go to a typical English village, distil and bottle the essence and feel of life there, add in her own dashes of drama and intrigue and the product is this graphic novel. From the angry locals who hate outsiders for turning their once functional farmland into 'extortionate real estate', to the bored teenagers who constantly spy on the adults hoping something might happen in between snogging behind barns and smoking in the bus stop, I feel I know all of these characters. Everyone knows everyone and, equally, everyone else's business and it is fascinating to watch as characters flirt and...more in some cases! You really live on top of each other in villages like this one; they may seem lazy and idyllic from the outside, but on the inside they are filled with people who are bored, lonely and nosey.I found the Hartiman's relationship really interesting. I mean, I hate Nick Hartiman. He is a dick. His long-suffering wife Beth types up pages and pages of his novel each night, is his personal skivvy in every way, cooks for him, does all the domestic chores, runs their guesthouse business, is his assistant and secretary, and yet he can never be honest with her. She, on the other hand, is a fool. She thinks that by waiting on him hand and foot and acting like the perfect wife, mother and secretary whilst hiding her bubbling jealousy, annoyance and rage at his ingratitude under the surface that he will love her. He won't. He is selfish and keeps treating her badly because she has no self respect. If she did she would kick him out after they cause a scene in front of the writers at the retreat, which was completely humiliating. She thinks he is too good for her and so tries to make up for it by presenting herself as the perfect wife. I know people in real life who think they can keep up this facade, but the rage and jealousy always win in the end, as they do in this story. I liked Tamara Drewe's character; she is very flawed which I always admire in a main character. She is completely in love with herself and knows she can make people do things for her by showing her body and flirting a little. In other words, she is manipulative and uses Andy, the man who loves her from afar, for the attention she craves, as well as more practical considerations like the gardening. When she embarks on her relationship with a married man, she appears naive and vulnerable and it is obvious that she is just a little lost and easily influenced by power and persuasion. Her column, which is presented throughout the novel, is outrageously honest and funny in its own oblivious way.I loved the two girls who are bored in the village and long for excitement; Casey and Jody. Casey is overshadowed by her glamourous friend and feels invisible and insignificant while Jody is just scared of being boring. The way that they gossip about celebrities in the same way they do about their neighbours is hilarious. It made me think that parents are kinda cruel for making kids grown up in these tiny villages that are miles from anywhere and have absolutely nothing to do except walk in muddy fields and sit in a bus stop. No wonder that by the end of the novel they have caused havoc. There is a lot of humour in this novel too. The satire on writers is really funny. Beth Hartiman runs a 'writer's retreat' where writers come to get the peace and tranquility they need to write their novels and whatnot. Nick Hartiman dubs them UFF's (Unpublished Fifties Females) which I found amusing because that is what I imagine the clientele would be made up of for a place like that! They all hang onto his every word and giggle at his jokes because they are both in awe of his success and also hoping he can help them get published...funny but also quite sad in a way.Overall, I adored this graphic novel and am glad I can add it to my ever growing pile of beautiful books. It is printed on thick, high quality paper and is lovely to feel and look at. The story is intriguing and you really want to know what will happen to the characters.

  • Robert Beveridge
    2019-05-28 03:24

    Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe (Mariner, 2008)If Henry James had lived long enough to get himself into the graphic novel movement, and embrace the more explicit nature of today's plotlines, I can easily see him having written something along the lines of Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds' easy, slightly seedy comedy of manners set in the British countryside.Loosely based on Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, Tamara Drewe is the story of a rural town in Britain divided into upstairs (a posh writers' commune run by Nicholas and Beth Hardiman) and downstairs (the locals). Enter Tamara Drewe, a former local who moved to London, landed a big job writing for the society pages, got herself a nose job and a former-rock-star boyfriend, and is now back for the ostensible reason of getting away from it all. Two local girls, one of whom is obsessed with Ben (the former rock star), start stalking Tamara, while every male connected to the writers' retreat, including Nicholas, instantly falls for Tamara. Hilarity ensues, though as usual in things like this, that hilarity has a sour taste in the mouth, and inevitably leads to tragedy.Warning: how you're going to feel about one big event in this book is going to have a lot to do with your feeling on the deus ex machina thing. (You'll know it when you get to it.) I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it, and I finished the book a couple of weeks ago; I'm more ambivalent about it than I was about the end of, say, Ann Patchett's Bel Canto (which I loathed), even though I understand both big twists exist because of the literature on which they're modeled; deus ex machina was a lot more fashionable in Victorian England than it is today, and for some reason part of me wants to forgive Simmonds based on that (even though I have refused to forgive Patchett for, what, nine years?, for the same thing). Still, it does annoy, and it's one of the only weak spots in an otherwise sharp, funny book. (The other is Glen, one of the book's narrators, who's very ineffectual for a character with such a large part; I figure this is another analogy to Victorian structure, but this one seems less forgivable to me.)One way or the other, though, this is another of those books that's well-suited for giving to your friend who doesn't understand why you read “comic books”, though it's not quite on the level of something like Burns' Black Hole or Smith's Bone. Bottom line, it's a lot of fun, it's intelligent, and it'll make you think a bit. *** ½

  • Monthly Book Group
    2019-06-18 02:46

    Simmonds loosely follows the plot of “Far from the Madding Crowd” in this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, but her sensibility is very different. She is a social satirist rather than a tragedian, an Austen rather than a Hardy. Many of her funniest moments – and she is deliciously funny - are when she mischievously contrasted what happened in 1874 with what happened in 2006. The Valentine is a good example. Bathsheba had sent a “gorgeously illuminated” Valentine card to Boldwood, with a wax seal embossed “marry me”. But the equivalent Valentine in Tamara Drewe was a text message saying “I want to give you the biggest shagging of your life”. And it was sent to three different men! And instead of Bathsheba swooning over a soldier, Tamara swoons over a boy band drummer. Social security claimants replace farm labourers. A fully working agricultural economy has been replaced by one in which a novelists’ retreat is one of the few things to flourish. Fanny’s death from hunger and childbirth is replaced by Jody’s death from glue-sniffing.And while Tamara gets involved with three lovers similar to those of Bathsheba, she does not need to waste time waiting for propositions of marriage but leaps straight into bed as she wishes. Posy also has a bit of fun with her characters’ names (though not as much as Hardy) with a “Sergeant” standing in for Troy, a “Cobb” standing in for Oak, a “Drewe” for the illustrator’s heroine, and a “Hardiman” as her novelist.But Simmonds’ overall story and characters are different from Hardy’s and weak compared to his: her strength lies in satire rather than in plotting and character development.“Great fun”, “Very refreshing”, “Wonderful – they’ll be reading this in 100 years time” were some of the comments. It was remarkable how she could capture someone’s feelings or attitudes by sketching their face. She had caught precisely the popular/intelligent novelist preening himself in front of an audience of adoring women, with the diligent wife who had let herself go…This is an extract from a review at Our reviews are also to be found at

  • Maggie
    2019-06-14 21:43

    I'm one of those people who likes to read the book before I see the movie, but I did it differently this time. I didn't even know there was a book. I saw the movie, of the same name, on DVD and found out about the book by watching some of the bonus features. The book is a graphic novel, and was available at my library, so I thought "why not?" It only took me a couple of evenings to read it, even though I had to wait until after my kids were in bed to do so. Tamara Drewe is a woman who moves back to her childhood home from London, after her mother passes away. She grew up there, and was apparently known mostly for her big nose. Now that she has returned, she has had a nose job, and now writes a newspaper column, mostly about herself. In the tiny English village, there is a well known novelist, who with his wife (well more the wife than him actually) runs a bed and breakfast/retreat for visiting writers. There is also a hunky gardener who fancies Tamara, a bunch of local teens who spend most of their time getting into trouble and lots of cows. Don't forget the cows.The movie followed the book fairly closely, with a few exceptions. There is a second death in the book that they change into a happy ending for the movie, and there is budding relationship at the end of the movie that wasn't in the book. I liked some of the changes, and didn't like others. In both versions I had a hard time trying to figure out the affair Tamara had with a married man. It just didn't make sense to me. There wasn't any motivation that I could understand. In fact, I really didn't understand a lot about Tamara. For being the main character she remained pretty mysterious.I liked this book, and thought it was fun that it was a graphic novel. The trouble was my kids noticed the comics and wanted to read it too. The story and drawing are really really not for children. I'll have to keep it hidden until I can get back to the library. The story is apparently based on "Far From the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy, which I've been meaning to read for some time but haven't yet. Maybe now I will be inspired.

  • Garrett Zecker
    2019-06-02 22:45

    An interesting approach to Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd (, this graphic novel is a wordy but beautiful expression of the culture and relationships of the middle-aged writer's workshop circle. When Ms. Drewe appears at her childhood farmstead whose environment and principality as a whole is being replaced with old money city-dwellers, she shakes up the small writer's community near the home in showing up with a nose job and a glamorous lifestyle. This book pays homage to the futility of old age in manhood and the constant reminder of the vanity involved with the beauty of young womanhood and self-preservation in adultery. What is so interesting about this is the real-ness that I felt I encountered in the text. It is beautifully illustrated and written; everything from the lush landscapes to the deliberate and convincing dialogue made this a very wonderful application of the graphic-novel format. Certainly an excellent text, and if you have not had an experience with the format yet, this is an absolutely excellent starting point!

  • Kirsten
    2019-06-06 21:23

    This is a fascinating soap opera of sorts. Beth runs a writer's retreat in the British countryside, while her husband, a mildly successful mystery novelist, bangs out novel after novel in the garden shed. Their world is bucolic on the surface, but Nick's philandering ways often put a crimp in things. It all comes to a head when Tamara Drewe, a journalist, moves into the family farm next door. Tamara was not terribly good looking once upon a time, but she's recently had a nose job and is using her newfound attractiveness to full effect: everyone is enchanted, including the village kids, who see her as the most exciting development they've seen in quite some time.I really enjoyed this; I liked the quirky expressiveness of Simmonds' drawings, and the combination of traditional text storytelling and graphic storytelling works really well. It all seemed a bit soap opera-y at first, but in the end I was impressed by it and by Simmonds' understanding of the complexities of human relationships.

  • Danielle
    2019-05-22 01:19

    Beautiful to look at, though a fairly unlikeable story. This is the bit where I admit I've never read 'Far From The Madding Crowd', only cheated with the summary on Wikipedia (and in summary, it reads like a year's worth of 'McLeod's Daughters' condensed, sheep bloat and all). It was a bit hard to find a character to warm to in this lot, but I felt for Casey, maybe because I'd be the sidekick who looks less than great in jeans and who is too anxious to inhale computer cleaner, too. The others seemed to be either doormats or reprehensibly selfish - though maybe most of us are that self-absorbed when you get that far into our thoughts? The illustrations were lovely, though, and some of the small touches of body language were jsut great.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-06-06 00:26

    Really liked this second book based loosely on a Great Novel. Gemma Bovary was terrific, based on Madame Bovary, obviously, and this is more loosely based on Tomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, updating it with a feminist twist, satirizing academics and the artist/writers crowd. Simmonds is, I take it, less known here in the states than abroad, but she should be better known here. She is a deft artist and smart and funny and a good observer of the contemporary scene. Tom Wolfe writes a rave blurb for it; that's an indication of the territory she's in. Funny and smart book. She's a good storyteller, too, weaving her own story through the work she honors, Hardy's, in the process, echoing some of the themes there and creating some of here own.

  • Lars Guthrie
    2019-05-29 21:31

    A groundbreaking marriage of novel and comic book. Really a lot going on here, more than in most graphic novels. Seamless segues from text to comic book panels and back again, and it all works in this meeting of murder mystery and comedy of modern manners. Posey places her story in a rural English retreat for writers, which allows for a fascinating intermingling of glitterai from the literary and pop worlds with regular folks as well as teenage working class chuffers. All the levels you'd expect in a good novel, but you can read it so much faster and really see the characters. If you don't want to buy or borrow the book, the serialized version from the Guardian is available online. Highly recommended.

  • Jacobi
    2019-06-19 20:37

    This book was really well done, and probably the first time I've ever read a graphic novel with prose that I didn't mind reading. This follows a bunch of desperate, sad, depressing, and pathetic characters at some writers retreat whom are all impacted by this Tamara Drewe woman. Sounds like a good time right? Well, the characters are all well realized, and it's interesting following the slices of their life that Simmonds exposes us to, even if none of the people are especially likable. Posy Simmonds has a great art style, and can tell a story expertly, so I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

  • Hanneke
    2019-06-04 04:17

    Echt ontzettend leuk, dit literaire stripboek! De strip is losjes gebaseerd op 'Far from the madding Crowd' van Thomas Hardy, maar het verhaal speelt zich af in een hedendaagse setting. Tamara Drewe keert terug naar het huis van haar overleden ouders op het platteland. Zij brengt daar vele hoofden op hol, vooral de schrijvers in een nabij gelegen rustiek onderkomen, waar (aspirant) schrijvers in alle rust aan hun boeken kunnen werken. De situatie loopt volledig uit de klauwen, al kun je daar Tamara niet als enige schuldige voor aanwijzen. Mooi getekend, mooie tekstjes, geestig en soms een tikkie vilein. Ik kon het boek niet neerleggen!

  • Andrea
    2019-05-21 23:24

    I really enjoyed "Tamara Drewe"! First, the illustrations are wonderful -- the scenery and colors are delicate and finely drawn, and the expressiveness of the faces of the characters helps to enhance and develop the story. There is a very well realized coordination of text and picture, where each element builds upon the other and produces something greater than the whole. Also, Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors, so the resonance with his "Far From the Madding Crowd" was especially pleasing. I highly recommend this book both for itself and as an introduction to the graphic novel genre.

  • Saoirse
    2019-06-10 02:43

    Tamara Drewe est le premier roman graphique que je lis. J'avoue avoir été assez surprise par le format mais on s'y fait vite.Je connaissais déjà l'histoire après avoir vu le film tiré du livre mais je ne me souvenais pas de certains passages (peut-être ont-ils été modifiés?), et j'ai bien aimé retrouvé les personnages. Les dessins sont plutôt jolis. Pas un gros coup de cœur mais je suis contente de l'avoir lu.

  • Richard
    2019-06-18 01:31

    A slight confession that my review was stimulated by the film of this cartoon book being on Swedish TV last night.However I have always been a fan of Posy Simmonds' cartoon strip and this book brings them together. The story is very 'English' and a little stereotyped....small village, eccentric characters, hidden lust and hidden naughtiness. It is though very very funny and not the least beautifully illustrated and it is quite difficult not to fall in love with Tamara just a little.