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Paul Has a Summer Job

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Michel Rabagliati

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Author: Michel Rabagliati
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly Pubns
Date Published: April 01, 2003
1 review about Paul Has a Summer Job

Paul Has a Summer Job, Michel Rabagliati Has a Hit Character

  • Jan 17, 2008
Pros: Humorous story and illustrations, allusions, the ending

Cons: None worth noting

The Bottom Line: Paul Has a Summer Job is as easy and fun to read as the title makes it out to be.

Graphic novels have become an obsession of my as of late; I spend down time at my job at the library looking for new graphic novels and artists to experience, sometimes finding fun, obscure titles and often finding well-known books that are new to me. One title I've found recently is Paul Has a Summer Job by Michel Rabagliati, a Montreal native.

Paul Has a Summer Job begins at Paul's boring job printing raffle tickets and performing other odd jobs (such as making coffee and lunch runs for the other employees) at a print shop. He's dropped out of high school and has now been at the shop for two weeks and hates it, not quite getting the hang of the print machine and the clutch that controls it. Lucky for him, Paul's friend Guy calls him, complaining that one of the other counselors at the summer camp he works at bailed unexpectedly, and asking Paul if he can replace him. Obviously, as unhappy as he is playing gopher at the print shop, Paul says yes and ends up being assigned to teaching the underpriveleged and often mis-treated camp kids rock climbing, something he's never done before. Once he arrives at the camp and before the kids get there, Paul gets a chance to meet the other camp counselors, taking advantage of the opportunity to show off what a klutz and a goober he can inadvertantly be. After breaking the ice and learning to successfully and fearlessly go rock climbing, meeting the first batch of camp kids, and giving a first (bad) impression on his co-counselor, Paul realizes the camp counselor gig might not be as easy as its cracked up to be. But as the summer goes by, Paul learns to be himself and enjoy the kids and ends up creating experiences for himself that he'll never forget.

Through his easy-to-read story-telling and his cartoon-ey, fun drawings, Michel Rabagliati created a story about a young male who, in the spur of the moment, takes a job at a summer camp where he not only learns about himself, but about others as well. Paul and his friends at the camp are carefree jokesters, always having fun, which is evident in the lighthearted feel to each illustrated frame. Paul's klutziness and goofy way of approaching things adds humor to the illustrations as well, leaving the reader with a fun, quick, easy read.

At the end of the story as an adult, Paul revisits that summer unexpectedly. He reminisces about the people he met and the good times he had. There are reference's to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here as well as Antoine De Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, both of which add a special touch to the story. To me, the end of the book gave the book a higher overall score than I originally had in mind; I felt like everything wrapped up nicely and I wasn't left feeling like I missed something, as can often be the case with graphic novels.

There are a few things that may be turn-offs to some readers. I don't particularly get bothered by nudity or curse words, but Paul Has a Summer Job has just enough of both to make it something worth reading before a young adult does. The illustrations aren't detailed enough to make the nudity over-bearing, just humorous. The cussing was also nothing major, but it was enough to make me wonder what kind of summer camps really allow the participating kids to talk like that without being punished.

Michel Rabagliati has also written a few other graphic novels featuring Paul; Paul in the Country (2000) and Paul Moves Out (2005). I have already requested both of these books through my library, and hope to read them soon. Paul Has a Summer Job was easy and quick to read, and while the story was in-depth enough to keep me interested, it could still be considered light, simple reading.

A Few Other Graphic Novels I've reviewed

Borden Tragedy
Electric Girl, Volume 1
Shutterbug Follies
Four Letter Worlds
Strange Day
Diary of a Teenage Girl


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