Esthers TagebücherbyRiad Sattouf
Translation: Ulrich Pröfrock
Esther, aged ten, is a perfectly normal girl. That said, she is also the protagonist of a highly unusual comic series: in Esthers Tagebücher, French-Syrian comic author Riad Sattouf – born in 1978 – has taken it upon himself to observe his friends’ daughter Esther until her 18th birthday, chronicling his conversations with her year in, year out.
The first volume revolves around Esther’s school, her best friends and selected enemies, her difficult older brother and other “stupid” boys, clothes, the dream of owning an iPhone, pop and reality TV stars – but also schoolyard bullying, racism, envy and jealousy… In other words, Esther relates the madness and constant overload that are part and parcel the everyday life of a teenager. Steering clear of sugar-coating or cuteness, in this little girl’s universe Riad Sattouf remains the same razor-sharp satirical observer we know from comics such as the autobiographical The Arab of the future.
Nevertheless, he remains firmly rooted in Esther’s perspective – an outlook as naïve as it is critical, exposing a profusion of inconsistencies, contradictions and absurdities that yield abundant potential for outlandish comedy.