Cover image for Paul has a summer job
Paul has a summer job
Rabagliati, Michel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montréal : Drawn and Quarterly, [2003]

Physical Description:
144 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Paul a un travail d'été.

Comic strip.
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
X Graphic Novel Central Library

On Order



Rabagliati`s strip "Paul: Apprentice Typographer" was one of the highlights of 1999`s Drawn & Quarterly anthology, and his first comic book Paul in the Country won the 2000 Harvey award for Best New Talent. This, his first graphic novel, is eagerly anticipated by comix connoisseurs who enjoy a sweet, unsentimental story about being a teenager and Rabagliati's crisp retro-modern 1950s drawing style. Paul Has a Summer Job continues the story of Paul, a Quebecois teenager in the 1970s, as he experiences the first conflicts of responsibility with his desire to be free. Paul is outraged that he is forced to stop his high school art training. But he's been asked to put art aside because his other grades are so terribly low. Defiant, he quits school and anticipates a summer of leisure. But instead Paul follows the path of so many Quebecois teenagers: he lands a job as a counselor at one of the many summer camps in the mountains outside the city. There he finds himself guiding a motley band of kids, misfits and troublemakers, much like himself.

Author Notes

Michel Rabagliati's illustrations have appeared in several publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Utne Reader, Reader's Digest, National Post, Canadian Business, Maclean's and Canadian Living. He lives in Montreal.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Gr. 9^-12. It's the summer of 1979, and Paul, a recent high-school dropout and an apprentice at a local print shop, is broke, unhappy and living with his parents in Canada. A phone call from a friend who is running a summer camp for underprivileged kids allows Paul to escape into a job as a replacement counselor. Paul is apprehensive at first as he's not great with kids and doesn't know the first thing about braving the wilderness, but after a rocky start, he bonds with his fellow counselors, the kids begin to grow on him, and he falls in love with his partner, Annie. Rabagliati's simple black-and-white line drawings and classic comics format are well-suited to this slacker-goes-to-summer camp tale, which has plenty teens can relate to--whether it's Paul's dissatisfaction with the authority figures at his school or a first love. The final act will ring true for older readers nostalgic about their own first overnight camp. The book was originally published in French, and this English translation includes a glossary of terms and places. --Carlos Orellana

Publisher's Weekly Review

High school dropout Paul is working a miserable job printing raffle tickets at a Montreal print shop, well on his way to becoming a slacker, when he lands a gig at a summer camp for underprivileged kids. Will the spoiled city boy learn a lot about life and himself over the course of the summer? Before September, Paul will fall in love, learn how to rock climb and discover that not only can he deal with kids, but that having them grow to love and trust him is a great reward. It's all a bit "After School Special," but it charms nonetheless. As Paul chases snakes out of his tent, meets cute co-counselor Annie and learns how to get the children to behave, readers keep waiting for the dramatic story to start. But suddenly the book ends, a warm summer memory of long-ago bonding. A contemporary epilogue skillfully and satisfyingly ties up the story's loose ends, showing how far Paul's come in 20 years. Rabagliati is a relative newcomer to comics, having spent most of his career as a graphic designer, and his art shines. It's highly reminiscent of the rounded, cartoony style of Peter Arno and other great New Yorker cartoonists, and Rabagliati has a sure sense of storytelling and the ability to strip even complicated emotions down to just a few lines. Originally published in French, the work is on the lighter side, but teens and adults who attended camp will find much to relate to. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Paul is thrown off an after-school art project by his overbearing principal because of poor grades, he quits high school and gets a job at a print shop. Then a friend offers him a position as counselor and rock-climbing instructor at a summer camp for underprivileged kids, which he accepts despite having no experience with kids or rock climbing. This realistic and touching book tells the story of that job, as Paul finds a community among the ragtag camp staff, yells at and bonds with the kids, and starts to grow into an adult. The story is told with cartoony black-and-white art by French Canadian creator Rabagliati, who won the Harvey Award for Best New Talent in 2000 and was nominated for an Eisner Award for his earlier comic book Paul in the Country. Another GN about Paul is in the works. A few things about this book may prove troublesome if it's placed in young adult collections, including some bad language and an unfortunate scene of Paul's landlady "fingering herself and hopping around like a monkey in heat," but it's highly recommended for older teens and adults. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-In 1979, Paul, 18, lands an unexpected job at a camp for underprivileged children. Accustomed neither to roughing it nor to youngsters, he knows that he is unprepared but falls to with a will and an open heart. Over the course of the summer on a Quebec lake, he learns about his own strengths, discovers the unaffected charms of 9- to 14-year-olds, and falls in love with a co-counselor. Subplots involve overcoming physical and emotional fears and the reality of shepherding a blind child through camp experiences. The ending brings the protagonist back to the site of the camp 20 years later. Paul and his fellow teens act responsibly with the children but are prone to partying between sessions; they are able to cope with emergencies, and they experience the death of one counselor's parent. The story unfolds with quirky black-ink drawings and natural-sounding dialogue. The images bounce with physical energy and depict the brightness and darkness of the teen's moods. Endnotes offer readers in the U.S. helpful information for interpreting Quebecois swearing and references to pop idols of the place and time. Anyone who has gone to camp, or taken on a job with the knowledge that it seems unworkable, will recognize Paul's plight and the sense of achievement he gets to taste.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.