Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Essex County

Publish December 5, 2017

The YA comic, Essex County by Jeff Lemire is a fictional depiction of the tragic lives of a family of professional hockey players in Southwestern Ontario. Brothers Lou and Vince played on the same line for the Toronto Grizzlies. When Vince moves away to start a family, Lou turns to alcoholism as his hockey career ends.

Essex County opens with Vince’s great-grandson Lester who is living with his guardian Uncle Ken. Lester’s [unidentified father] Jimmy, the last surviving Lebeuf hockey player, suffers from brain trauma as a result of a violent concussion; Jimmy’s wife Claire committed suicide as a result of his PTSD.

“There are only two ways to be completely alone in this world, lost in a crowd, or in total isolation.” Themes of loneliness and isolation run rampant in Essex County: Uncle Ken and Lester who have no connection; Lou and Vince Lebeuf, the estranged brothers; and Jimmy who is violently lost within his own mind.

The drawings of acres and acres of empty farmland add to the feeling of desolation, and each illustration and font changes on the page to display the individual characters’ unique traits. Through a child’s eyes, we see how, in a small town, one life’s trauma can carry on for generations. This Top Shelf comic may be the find of the season!

Essex County

Jeff Lemire
Illustration EN: Jeff Lemire
Top Shelf Comix
ISBN 13: 978-1-60309-038-4

Seumas Hetherington
Seumas Hetherington

Seumas Hetherington is a bilingual reviewer of children’s ‘books for boys’, graphic novels, comics, and mixed media stories. He is a snowboarder in South-western Ontario and a self-proclaimed ‘science geek’. Hetherington is a male writing voice who joins us from le Conseil Scolaire Providence.

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