A Puff Of Smoke

Sarah Lippett

Research output: Book/ReportBook


When the headaches started, Sarah Lippett would stand alone on a different side of the playground from the other children. When she started to drag one of her legs, her parents took her to hospital, and so began the visits to many different doctors, each one more bewildered by her illness than the last. Initially schooled at home, when Sarah went back to school she was placed with the struggling kids, and still so often ill, she felt even more alone.

But although Sarah's parents often despaired of the stream of appointments and no cure, they never showed it and she grew up in the midst of a boisterous, loving family and found good friends at last, as well as venturing into bands, art, boys, books and records. Finally, when Sarah turned sixteen, she was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where the doctors diagnosed her with the rare disease, Moyamoya. The book ends with Sarah waking up after brain surgery.

"If this doesn’t make you cry, you may be a robot rather than a human being… But there is joy here, too, and not only in [Lippett’s] wonderful illustrations. As those who loved her first book, Stan and Nan, will know, she is so deft when it comes to the details of time, place and family life… She can also be very droll… [A Puff of Smoke] is deeply affecting – and not a little chastening, too."
Rachel Cooke, Observer, *Graphic Novel of the Month*
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJonathan Cape
Number of pages296
ISBN (Print)9781911214861
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019


  • Graphic novel
  • Comic
  • Illustration
  • Sequential narrative


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