Jimmy Lee Hickam is a young man whose sad family life is only topped by the poverty and depression of his southeastern Ohio hometown. 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. This book was recommended to me by a dear fellow reader. I loved the description of how he developed his essays. Return to Book Page.

It’s an inspiring story without being precious or sentimental. It’s more that Jimmy gets his shot–the chance to succeed or fail on his own merits. I listened to this book. And so they don’t dream. The writing was so visual and so sensitive and so beautiful. Loved, loved, loved this book.

What a good read.

However if you’re not in a book club you should read it anyway. Dec 17, Linda rated yoocum it was amazing. Was it a good essay? You will really cheer for some of the characters and hate others. Gives great snapshot of the world of poverty and challenges faced to ever succeed. He also is the author of Dead Before Deadline, a compilation of stories Robin Yocum is the author of the award-winning, critically acclaimed novel, Favorite Sons JuneArcade Publishing.

Despite all of this, Jimmy finds a way out via brains, physical strength and the goodwill of a special teacher.


In Jimmy’s transformation from class “dirty neck” to academic and rboin success, Yocum doesn’t settle for easy answers about nature vs. He won more than 30 local, state and national awards while at the paper. In this novel set deep in the Appalachia region of Southern Ohio, a young boy named Jimmy Lee Hickam grows up, dirt poor with sparknootes abusive hard-drinking father, a mother and brothers who have little time for him. They follow in their parent’s footsteps and no one ever breaks the cycle.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply. It is the poorest road, in the poorest county, in the poorest region of the state. The author of The Essay and other books, Robin Yocum is now president of a public relations firm and a former writer for the Columbus Dispatch where he was the recipient of numerous writing awards.

Loaned to me by my sister, The Essay is a short novel set in Ohio’s Appalachia in the ‘s, a region of my state I frequently drive through on my way to northern Virginia to essaj family. sparknotex

the essay robin yocum sparknotes

Plus it was a really GOOD story of Appalachia; typical problems and some really good people making good things happen in less than stellar circumstances! Trivia About The Essay. Anyone with ties to southern Ohio in the 70’s can relate to essy book.

the essay robin yocum sparknotes

To ask other readers questions about The Essayplease sign up. I started to give this 4 stars, but realized it was really 4. He is no passive actor, which makes this story all the better. This is how Jimmy Lee has grown up. Dec 01, Sue rated it it was amazing. Oct 27, Mike Eckhardt rated it it was amazing. This book was recommended s;arknotes me by a dear fellow reader.


the essay robin yocum sparknotes

If you’ve ever spent time in Southern Ohio you will recognize it in the pages of this book. The name Hickam alone means dirt poor and, by association, somehow dirty or unworthy. No one expects much of him with his violent father, good-for-nothing brothers, and a worn down mother who can’t quite find the strength to support her youngest child.

His father is a drunk, his two older brothers include a convict and a carnie, and his mother struggles in her position.

The Drowning Machine: THE ESSAY by Robin Yocum

His family’s reputation is so awful that he has just given up on ever trying to be any different from the youm, until The characters, the setting, and the events all ring so true that it feels autobiographical to me. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. On the surface, this may sound like a typical underdog story. Sep 15, Laurie Anthony rated it really liked it. Trimble rated it hte was amazing Shelves: