Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson. Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014. e book, 390 pps.

N.B. This novel has cuss words in it and depicts some sex and quite a bit of violence. If you object to that, then don't read Fourth of July Creek. Please read the book first before you consider letting your teens read it. Thanks.

     Fourth of July Creek is a fine novel. Set mainly in Montana-- with some other places thrown in-- Smith Henderson evokes the wilderness and those who live there in order to get away from the troubles of society. But even so, dysfunction has a way of following. 

     Social workers can also have their share of the stuff that takes the fun out of living. Pete Snow is an alcoholic. Lots of folks know that about him. He is not the only alcoholic caught up in the dramas of the backwoods, but he is the one we know the most about. There is also a drunken judge and some boozy friends. And an ex-wife gone party bananas in Austin Texas along with a teen-aged daughter.

     Pete Snow endeavors to do his job. He checks up on kids and their families. He takes kids away when he must. He does alright with some of those kids and fails drastically with others. He meets up with an irate father by the name of Jeremiah Pearl. Mr. Pearl doesn't cotton to him much at first. He always has his loaded shot gun. 

     Mr. Pearl is a christian of the end-times variety, waiting for money to fail and the antichrist to rise up from the dead and take over America. His apocalyptic thinking is of the extreme sort, very much unlike that of some of my fundamentalist christian buddies who attend church on Sundays and who may at times greet each other with the word "Maranatha" or visibly shake their heads at the evening news.

     Pete Snow has a life that is falling apart when he hears some news from Texas and must take off immediately for Austin. I'm not going to tell you any more of it. Read the book.

sapphoq reviews says: Smith Henderson did an excellent job with Fourth of July Creek, his first novel. The characters were vivid. The plot moved along nicely. I was transported into the story itself. A most excellent book and highly recommended.

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