"For three summers beginning when he was 16, cartoonist Guy Delisle worked at a pulp and paper factory in Quebec City. Factory Summers chronicles the daily rhythms of life in the mill, and the twelve-hour shifts he spent in a hot, noisy building filled with arcane machinery. Delisle takes his noted outsider perspective and applies it domestically, this time as a boy amongst men through the universal rite of passage of the summer job. Even as a teenager, Delisle's keen eye for hypocrisy highlights the tensions of class and the rampant sexism an all-male workplace permits... Guy and his dad aren't close, and Guy's witnessing of the workplace politics and toxic masculinity leaves him reconciling whether the job was the reason for his dad's unhappiness. On his days off, Guy found refuge in art, a world far beyond the factory floor. Delisle shows himself rediscovering comics at the public library, and preparing for animation school--only to be told on the first day, 'There are no jobs in animation.' Eager to pursue a job he enjoys and to avoid a career of unhappiness, Guy throws caution to the wind."--
Binding the whole narrative together is Delisle's relationship (or lack thereof) with his father, a figure who, in Delisle's presentation, seems airily tragic, a man quietly longing for connection with his son and with no notion of how to create it. Or, perhaps, the reader is simply projecting it. The mystery of that is part of the tenderly mundane moments with him in the story, and provides an emotional bookend -- and with a surprising level of closure to the whole story, in its own way.
Without a backdrop of war or dictatorship, it's probably not going to blow you away like some of Delisle's earlier works, but 'Factory Summers' is warmly recommended, and well worth the read.