53. When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs. (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 48
Ages: 14+
Finished: Feb. 17, 2012
First Published: 1982
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Graphic novel, cold war, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:  "Cheerio Jim."

Publisher's Summary: "Raymond Briggs' now famous bestselling comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly couple in his usual humorous yet macabre way."

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading:  I was posting a review on another site when this book was recommended for me.  I'd never heard of it before but since I love apocalyptic books and Brigg's Snowman is a treasured favourite I knew I had to read it..

The only reason this book doesn't get a full five star rating from me is that it does show it's age and is a product of its times.  This is a sad, despairing, dark book lightened with black humour.  It packs quite the punch and at the time it was written during the Cold War, when the Russian threat of Nuclear War was a real threat the book''s impact would have been even more chilling.  One must first note that *this is NOT a book for children*.  Briggs takes us from just before the announcement that a nuclear bomb is likely to be aimed at Britain to several days after the impact.  At the centre is an innocent rural WWII survivor couple who don't understand all of modern day's technologies and still believe in the government taking care of its citizens.  They have pamphlets, issued by the government, on how to cope during a nuclear attack and trust in them as they would the word of God, while in reality it's all rather useless and though they survive the bomb they unknowingly waste away from radiation poisoning.  Their innocent banter between each other is compelling and heartrending and yet one must also place oneself in the past to the era the book was written in for it to be believable.

The book is still relevant today, however.  While Russia is not the big threat anymore, there are any number of smaller countries in today's world that have the ability to "push the button" and cause the same scenario of dealing with the fall out.  While I think the innocence of this couple no longer exists in today's jaded world, it does make one realize the precious, innocent, beauty of Creation in all its aspects: human, animal and plant.  This is a powerful, poetic book.  I'm very glad to have discovered it.


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