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Essex County Volume 3: The Country Nurse

by Jeff Lemire

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Format: Softcover, 6x9, black & white, $9.95 

ISBN: 978-1-891830-95-2

Reviewed by: School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up
This final volume in a trilogy shifts the focus to Anne Quenneville, a traveling nurse. Her character primarily works as a device, reintroducing readers to the disparate members of the Lebeuf family. Lester, no longer donning his toy superhero cape, is a little more grown up but seems lonely, while Jimmy continues to hide himself in his job at the town filling station. Anne decides to help the family heal by urging Jimmy to step forward and finally get to know his young son Lester, giving more formal answers to questions of lineage and familial tragedy that were only hinted at in the earlier books. Lemire's cartoonlike art is more cinematic than ever here, making full poetic use of wintry Canadian landscapes to force readers to pause and feel the emotions of the characters. A side story features Lawrence, a Lebeuf ancestor who grew up in a desolate orphanage managed by a nun and a gruff caretaker. Although these flashbacks don't have a direct impact on the modern-day Lebeufs, the past events do bring a deeper layer of history to the family. The first two volumes worked exceptionally well as stand-alone stories. While Lemire still creates memorable moments in this finale, readers will want to know what happened in the previous tales to appreciate this one fully. Well written and beautifully drawn, this wonderful close to a powerful trilogy is ideal for fans of realistic stories in comics.
Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA