The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was deeply touched by Jeff Lemire’s Essex County, as to me, it portrays my version of home in Southwestern Ontario. The contrast between his drawing of Toronto’s hubbub and Essex County’s stark isolation is vivid and particularly resonates with my experience growing up in a rural community. His characters are so well-developed and the threads between them are surprising in their complexity. Their stories are intimate in a way that compels me to read more even though I feel like I’m intruding in their underwear drawers. I particularly fell entranced by reading the story of Lester and the complicated relationship between his father and his uncle. I found Lemire’s artwork to be mesmerizing as he uses broad brush strokes and intentionally muddies his images. A thought occurred to me the other day….that Terry Fallis should collaborate with Jeff Lemire and create a graphic novel version of “Best Laid Plans”.
Although this is part of my secondary library collection, I think it will come across to students a bit like Margaret Laurence’s Stone Angel…not relevant to their age of experience. I will, however, recommend it to all the staff. I’m going to rate it for senior teen, but not because of content, but because of themes.
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HI Alanna – I had a chance to look through the book the other night. I totally agree with you with respect to the drawing and imagery. I can’t imagine how long it took to put it together. There were some themes and comments that would have to be handled carefully in the classroom though.
Yes definitely…so do you think it was an accurate portrayal of Essex County?
It could be most rural areas, couldn’t it? I didn’t analyze it to that fine a conclusion.