The Greats

Groundwood. Sept. 2020. 200p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781773063874.
Gr 7 Up–Jomon wants to end it all. At 15, he has won a school competition and should be on cloud nine but instead, he ends up vandalizing a local business. A survivor of abuse at the hands of his father, he would rather stay in jail than give the officers his father’s name. Locked in a cell, he doesn’t feel like he has anything to live for anymore. Then he is visited by ghostly grandfathers. He argues that suicide is a way out of his pain, but quickly learns he will have to go through generations of men in his family to do so. This heartwrenching story highlights the effects of generations of mental illness and depression in one family. Grandfathers and great-grandfathers return to share their stories in hopes of imparting light on Jomon’s situation. Set against the beautiful landscape of Guyana and alternating between Jomon’s narrative and that of a prehistoric giant sloth, readers will learn how depression and loneliness affect families and can lead to regret. This novel highlights mental health issues that are sadly overlooked in society. Like the leak in the wall of Guyana’s national museum, “Covering up a problem only makes it worse.”
VERDICT This short yet impactful story is a great way to spark a conversation. Recommended for middle and high school readers and anyone who wants to learn about suicide prevention.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing