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Review: Roughneck

When I was in grade school, it was the first time, history class caught my attention. I was not like most students, who gravitated towards classes like Math or gym, as I did enjoy those as well, but history was my first obsession. It was something instilled in me from an early age, as the stories I heard from both sides of my family, always triggered my need to find out more. I even remembered when I read a book about anything history related, I would eventually look up the books that are referenced in the book.

The one part of history, that got me to hate an American President, was the trail of tears.  From what I read, I could not believe an American president would subdue America’s own indigenous peoples to such a grave injustice. As I eventually found out through my research, is that he was not the only one, and America is not the only country to treat their native peoples like second class citizens. The long-term effects of this history, can be seen on their descendants, which is the story Jeff Lemire lays out in Roughneck.

In the town of Pimitamon, a county in the wilderness of Canada, mostly populated by Canada’s indigenous tribes, we meet Derek Ouelette, a former professional hockey player, who is an alcoholic with an anger problem and who feels his best days are behind, as he works as a janitor, for the local ice rink. His sister, Bethy, comes back to town, running away from an abusive boyfriend, who is a drug addict, and whose life doesn’t seem to have shaped the way she thought it was going to. As this brother and sister, deal with their own personal demons, and trying to support each other in some semblance of what they feel a family is, they eventually hide out in a cabin, as her boyfriend is getting closer to where she is. By book’s end, a fight between Derek and Bethy’s boyfriend happens, but Derek is saved by the local police before things get dire.

Overall, a tear-jerking and enthralling book that will have the reader rooting for Derek and Bethy to love each other and love themselves. The story by Lemire is powerful and heartfelt. The art by Lemire is beautiful. Altogether, a book that although the world is unfair, love still finds a way.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Jeff Lemire
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation : Buy

Almost American