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!
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.
The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.