But even in this comic, the author appears before us in the guise we now know so well – a baffled outsider trying, and often failing, to navigate a culture that isn’t his own ... But the book isn’t really about social class so much as it is about men and their agonising inability to talk to one another ... It’s this plangent undertow that makes Factory Summers worth your time. We all know about summer jobs. Many of us have experienced the borderline bullying that comes with a certain kind of envy and fear. But the emotionally silent world of men is more difficult territory to reach and it finds its perfect expression here in Delisle’s effortless concision: so much paralysing gaucheness in a beer belly, a pair of bandy legs, a head bent over a homemade sandwich; so much sadness in a single glance.
Delisle opens this perceptive memoir observing himself at age 16, working summers at a Quebec City paper mill ...He also regularly overhears instances of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia in his coworkers’ conversations, which contrasts with Delisle’s occasionally naive but sincere efforts at maintaining respectful relationships with others. His cartoony and simple yet textured drawings capture the characters with insight and gentle humor, as well as terrifying close calls with dangerous machinery.