I have been seeing this pop up on “Best of…” lists lately, so I decided to grab it and see what it was about. Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth has been doing very well for me. So I gave it a read today.
Its a story about a boy, Lester, in a rural Canadian town. He lost his Mom and is living with his uncle. He always wears a mask and cape, but the reason for this is touching and plays a role in the entire story. His uncle isn’t the type who wanted or understands kids. And it is clearly hard on Lester, adapting to a farming way of life. He meets a man at the gas station and he takes over a large part of the story. Not necessarily a coming of age story, but a neat ltitle chapter in a boys life.
There are 3 books in this series and I see that this first volume is now out of print, or at least out of stock right now. There is a big Complete Essex County volume out, and that will probably read better as a whole. I am about to dig into volume 2.
While I enjoyed the story, I think I actually enjoyed it more after reading the Glossary of Terms at the end. In it, Lemire explained where Essex County is located. It is the southernmost tip of Ontario, Canada. It is right across the border from Detroit. Now, this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but reading that had a huge impact on me.
My mom grew up in one of the towns, Kingsville, that was mentioned in the glossary of some of the towns in Essex County. I used to spend every summer and spring break through high school at my grandmothers in Kingsville. I spent every Christmas there until my mom’s death in 2005. It is a very small farming community with some fishing because it sits right on Lake Erie.
Jeff Lemire grew up in Essex County. It is not a very common area. But now I have an attachment to him as a creator. I will soon be reading everything he has written because of this. Kind of like discovering someone famous went to your high school.
Keep ’em coming , Mr. Lemire. I’ll be reading