the next good book

Fourth Of July Creek

By Smith Henderson


467 pages

What’s it about? Pete Snow is a social worker working in rural Montana in 1980.   He struggles to help his less than likable clients; at the same time he struggles in his own personal life.   At times his emotional connection to his clients seems stronger than the connection to his own family.  Every character in this novel is deeply flawed, but the talented Smith Henderson also makes these same characters sympathetic.  This novel creates a picture of the rural West that is both interesting and deeply troubling.
What did it make me think about? It made me think about our social welfare system.  The people falling through the cracks have complex issues.  The children suffer and then fall through the cracks themselves.  What is to be done?  Very thought provoking…
Should I read it? I would recommend it.   The story takes a long time to set up.  However, I really liked the way the author created such fully drawn characters.  There are no “good guys” or “bad guys”.  Everyone in this novel is deeply flawed.  Sometimes I wished they were not so unlikable as it often left no one to root for.
Quote- “Not knowing where she was.  Oh my God.  An untold sorrow.  He’s seen so much suffering, but he’d only suffered it secondarily.  To have it fresh and his own.   The scope of it.  He’d had no idea.  He’d known nothing.”

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