×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Essay: A Novel
     

The Essay: A Novel

5.0 7
by Robin Yocum
 

See All Formats & Editions

Jimmy Lee Hickam grew up along Red Dog Road, a dead-end strip of gravel and mud buried deep in the bowels of Appalachian Ohio. It is the poorest road, in the poorest county, in the poorest region of the state. To make things worse, the name Hickam is synonymous with trouble. Jimmy Lee hails from a heathen mix of thieves,
moonshiners, drunkards, and general

Overview

Jimmy Lee Hickam grew up along Red Dog Road, a dead-end strip of gravel and mud buried deep in the bowels of Appalachian Ohio. It is the poorest road, in the poorest county, in the poorest region of the state. To make things worse, the name Hickam is synonymous with trouble. Jimmy Lee hails from a heathen mix of thieves,
moonshiners, drunkards, and general anti-socials that for decades have clung to both the hardscrabble hills and the iron bars of every jail cell in the region.
This life, Jimmy Lee believes, is his destiny, someday working with his drunkard father at the sawmill, or sitting next to his arsonist brother in the penitentiary. There aren’t many options if your last name is Hickam.

An inspiring coach and Jimmy Lee's ability to play football are the only things motivating him to return for his junior year of high school—until his visionary English teacher cuts him a break and preserves his eligibility for the coming football season. To thank her, Jimmy Lee writes a winning essay in the high school writing contest. When irate parents and the baffled administration claim he has cheated, his teacher is inspired to take his writing talent as far as it can go, showing him the path out of the hills of Appalachia.

Terrific characterizations,
surprising revelations, gut-wrenching past betrayals, and an unforgettable cast of characters born of the dusty, worn-out landscape of southeastern Ohio make The Essay a powerful, evocative, and incredibly moving novel.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A heart-rending tale . . . with deep insights. The writing is plain and unadorned, and completely in tune with the people and place. Highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Review

"Like Annie Proulx, Richard Russo, and Richard Ford, Robin Yocum knows how to stake out a claim to a very particular part of America and make it uniquely his own. In Yocum's poignant and hard-hitting new novel, THE ESSAY, he explores, with great insight and craftsmanship, the coal mines and out-of-the-way farms and rivers and Friday night football games of southeastern Ohio. Jimmy Lee Hickam may come from a family of outlaws, but he's my latest literary hero. THE ESSAY is a book that young adults and veteran readers alike are going to love."—Howard Frank Mosher

“After reading The Essay, a tough but compassionate story about a poor teenager in southern Ohio who struggles to make good despite his harsh upbringing, I am convinced that Robin Yocum is one of the most talented and graceful writers working in America today. And I mean it when I say that I love this book.”
—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff

In The Essay, Robin Yocum explores just how far we can pull at the ties that tether us to our lives. Can we ever overcome circumstance and family history to chart our own destiny? Inspiring, compelling, and filled with characters I came to care deeply about, this is one story I couldn't put down. — Carla Buckley, award-nominated author of The Things That Keep Us HereIn The Essay, Robin Yocum explores just how far we can pull at the ties that tether us to our lives. Can we ever overcome circumstance and family history to chart our own destiny? Inspiring, compelling, and filled with characters I came to care deeply about, this is one story I couldn't put down.
— Carla Buckley, author of The Things That Keep Us Here

“Yocum writes like the reporter he used to be. He’s observant and still has his eye for detail and nuance.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611457667
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Robin Yocum is the president of Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing firm in Westerville, Ohio. Well known for his work as a crime and investigative reporter with the Columbus Dispatch from 1980 to 1991, he was the recipient of thirty local, state, and national journalism awards in categories ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. His first novel, Favorite Sons, was named USA Book News’
Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense. It was selected for the Choose to Read Ohio program for 2013–14, and was a featured book of the 2012 Ohioana Book Festival.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Essay: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
Writing a second novel as good as an initial effort can be a problematic thing. And “The Essay” follows in the path set by the author’s excellent maiden effort. It is a poignant portrayal of how an impoverished Appalachian boy growing up in a family looked down at even by the low standards of the southern Ohio coal country in which he lives can pull himself up by the bootstraps and escape from ignorance and poverty. This is the story of Jimmy Lee Hickam who, by good fortune and talent, makes something of himself with the help of a good teacher and a football coach. He first attracts the interest of the coach, who gives him the opportunity to shine as a player. As a result he gains some stature in his high school despite his background as beneath recognition as a person. Then his English teacher gives him a second chance when he is about to fail. He rewards her by working hard, winning an essay contest and proving he not only has brains as well as brawn. The story is not only a compassionate look at the boy’s development, but a moving look at life in a depressed area of the country. The story is a heart-rending tale of real life characters, with deep insights into their makeup. The writing is plain and unadorned, and completely in tune with the people and place. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book and could not put it down!  I didn't have time in my schedule to start reading a book, but I picked this one up and finished it less than 48 hours later.  Robin Yocum is such a gifted writer - he creates such vivid characters - and this is one I could not stop rooting for.  i could picture everything in my mind. I think I could even smell the place! Yocum's writing puts you in the book, and makes it impossible to stop reading his engaging stories. This is a GREAT book and a great book to share. I immediately had my mother (the teacher) read it, and she read it without stopping - cover to cover!  Get it - read it - you'll love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book of Robins i couldn't put down ,loved every chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is one of my favorites. I love a book with a message and makes you feel good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who knows the evil hidden in the human heart ? ROBIN YOCUM !! e. Bell
Kimbler82 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book couldn't put it down!
connie_53 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book from the beginning to the end. Robin makes the characters real and the small town come to life. This story will make you laugh and it will make you tear up. Congrats to Robin for writing such a great story.