Book Reviews

Review: When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

when the wind blows

This sad yet powerful graphic novel is certainly not for kids.  When the Wind Blows is something I’ve been meaning to see for a long time and when I saw this book in a local library I took the chance to read through it.  Created by the same man responsible for ‘The Snowman’ and ‘Father Christmas’ it really is worth reading whatever your age.  If you’ve watched it or read this book already I’d love to hear what you thought of it.  Here is my review:

Set during the cold war James and Hilda Bloggs hear news of an attack planned on Britain by the Russians. They prepare for the fall out following government guidelines. And then the bomb falls…

This graphic novel is so disturbing and powerful it leaves you feeling sad and chilled to your core. The couple are a well meaning but not too knowledgeable pair and with little information on what to do during a nuclear attack they cope as best they can given their circumstances. I’ve not read many graphic novels and I did know the story of this before reading it, but still it left me feeling uncomfortable inside. This is a good thing, what happens to the couple is not wonderful, there is nothing happy or cheerful in a couple experiencing a nuclear bomb and the after effects of it.

This book is certainly not for kids as the ending is not a cheerful and happy one. I think anyone can imagine how the story pans out and that is not pleasant. What is so moving about this story though is the couple’s complete lack of knowledge, the two of them have no idea what is happening to them or everything around them, they cannot understand the effects of the fall out and the government advice was useless in educating them.

This story is so sad and yet it’s so powerful because it shows the truth of what’ll happen if nuclear weapons are ever used in this world. Although this was set and written in the time of the cold war such nuclear threats are still around today and this book offers an important message to everyone. The pictures of this graphic novel are all very well drawn, and despite being just pictures on paper I am really impressed with the effect certain images have. Occasionally there is a double page image of one thing, such as a submarine near the beginning. These images are so powerful and I really didn’t think I could be so moved by a graphic novel.

It’s a bit of a spoiler here but I found this line Hilda says about the effects of the nuclear bomb particularly poignant: ‘Well you can’t see it and can’t feel it, it can’t be doing you any harm, can it?’

I would recommend this book to anyone from teens and older, the sad story is just too much for children in my opinion. However I really think everyone should read this book or see the dvd, just be prepared to cry or feel disconnected afterwards.

when the wind blows 1 when the wind blows 2

Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Book Description:

Raymond Briggs’ now famous bestselling comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a neuclear attack on an elderly couple in his usual humorous yet macabre way.

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24 thoughts on “Review: When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

      1. So do I! I remember doing bomb drill at primary school in the 60’s and listening to the local fire stations testing their alarms in case of nuclear attack. There was a real threat then and it was quite scary.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love graphic novels so this caught my eye. I think I saw this as an animation. if so, I hadn’t even realised it was a novel. If it is the same one, I remember how sorrowful and yet powerful it was.

    Great review C. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I felt pretty emotional after reading it, it’s certainly not a happy ending at all, and I originally wanted to see the animation but I never did and when this book was sitting on the front shelf of the library I was drawn to reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I felt like that after reading 1000 splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Oh that book brilliant. But oh my God, moving, disturbing. I read it in 3 day which is a record , all I did was read it. I was so moved, and shocked. I couldn’t calm down for weeks. I love my books and I love to keep them, but that went straight to charity shop, cause I don’t think I will ever forget that book. So well written but – oh my God Book worth reading if you haven’t but tissues at ready.

        Liked by 1 person

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