Essex County Vol. 1: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire
Format: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Top Shelf
Publication Date: 2007
The Short Version:
Ten year old Lester lives with his uncle after his mother’s death and they just don’t seem to understand each other at all.
Why I Read It:
I am unabashedly a huge fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. I have been looking forward to reading this trilogy that comes highly recommended by several friends.
From the back cover:
Xeric Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire illustrates the tale of Lester, a recently orphaned 10-year-old living on his Uncle’s Farm in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. As their relationship grows increasingly strained, Lester befriends the small town’s hulking gas station owner, Jimmy Lebeuf, a damaged former hockey star. The two escape into a private fantasy world of super-heroes, alien invaders, and good old fashioned pond hockey. Tales From the Farm is the first in a trilogy of graphic novels set in a fictionalized version of Lemire’s hometown of Essex County, Ontario.
Personally I think Jeff Lemire is an extremely talented genius. I am amazed at the emotion he can convey in a sparsely drawn page with no text. After reading his Sweet Tooth series and a couple of other stand alones I was eager to start this trilogy that has been so highly recommended.
Lester’s feeling of loss and being lost in a life where his uncle just doesn’t understand him just oozed off the page and drilled into me as I read it. His uncle never expected to be solo parenting a child and feels unable to build a relationship with a loner child who likes to wear his superhero cape and mask all the time. I felt for everyone in the story. I really liked the way that the black and white art was done in a lighter gray for the flashback scenes.
When Lester meets Jimmy it’s a case of two damaged people helping each other to cope with the world by living a rich fantasy life. Their unlikely friendship helps them both to move on from their losses.
Once again I’m strongly recommending another of Lemire’s books. This is clearly a trend. Every one I’ve read has been wonderful. His spare and sometimes rough artwork is so full of emotion that his characters always stick with me long after I’ve finished the books.