Book Review: Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words


This is a light-hearted sketchbook from Wendy MacNaughton. She's an illustrator and a graphic journalist based in San Francisco.

The book is about A5 in size, slightly smaller. There are 176 pages. See that city view on the cover? The cover is can actually be folded out into a city view poster with additional pointers.

Collected within book are images of the city captured in a series of snapshot style sketches. You'll see sketches of people on the streets going about their daily chores, scenes from SF Public Library, SF Civic Centre Farmers' Market, Chinatown, the dogs and dog walkers, a burrito, bisons, signs and other aspects of the city.

I like the sketches done in casual ink and watercolour style. The people sketches are nice.

The sketches are accompanied by short observations of the people, some quotes, and what she sees.

The book description says MacNaughton spent months getting to know the people, but I don't get that impression from the book. It feels like people there don't like to talk much. They smile for their sketches though. A bus passenger remarked that his kids don't take the bus. Why? The Farmers' Market help the homeless. Where are the stories of the homeless? What do the members like about Dolphin Club? I was expecting more to read as I felt the book was lacking in depth.

I'm saying all that because I do like the art, but it's a wasted opportunity because the book could have been so much better with more detailed stories.

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words
This is the fold-out poster from the cover

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words

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