Fourth of July Creek
After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social work ...more
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Pete Snow is a good man, despite that fact, he is in the vortex of a tornado. Those close to him are flung far and wide, battered and bruised by the briefest of contact. His relationship to his larger than life father is nearly nonexistent. When his father dies he learns of ...more
Pete is a social worker in Tenmile, Montana, a place so insignificant it was named for it's distance from the nearest possible somewhere. The folks he is charged with trying to help out need all the support they can get, but some can't seem to accept any.
There are three main threads braided into ...more
optimism is nice, but it's one thing to tell yourself that, and another to live in the real world.
pete snow lives in the real world. he works for the montana department of family services, where his territory covers a huge swathe of the rural backwoods of the state. the year is 1980, but there is a timelessness to this remote and undeveloped country which leaves its inhabitants untouched, somewhat exempt from the world at large.
pete bears ...more
This is rural fuckedupness right up there with the Donald Ray Pollock and Daniel Woodrell.
It's 1980, Carter is about to be ousted from the White House, Reagan's on the rise, and in a small town in Montana a long-haired social worker is about to be in the center of a whole lot of disturbing shit. Shitty families, drugs, alcohol, fringe Christians with radical libertarian economic ideas, crimi ...more
Those days of obscurity are over. His first novel, “Fourth of July Creek,” is the best book I’ve read so far this year. On a gamble that seems ...more
by Smith Henderson
Simultaneously Beautiful and Ugly
"Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist." - Michael Levine
My friend Derek described this book by saying:
"This book is beautifully written, but it's making me feel dirty all over. If grunge was a book genre, that's what I'd call this one. Very, very grungy."
I couldn't have said it better! The writing is so beautiful and eloquent, even though the harsh lives of these characters are ...more
I wanted this book from the minute I saw the first blurb about it. I've drooled for it. Then I start reading it.
I wasn't crazy about it. What is wrong with me!? I love this type of book. Gritty, dark and the souls of the characters are laid bare.
Still didn't like it.
The writing for me..and this should not stop anyone from reading it, was choppy and uneven. Half the time I didn't know what was going on or which character was being discussed.
I think I'm gonna troll my damn self for bei ...more
But first, a word of caution: readers who feel compelled to seek out likeable characters or who shun stories with an overriding bleak vision would be well advised to skip this book. It is unrelentingly dark and full of moral ambiguity.
At the center of the novel is Pete, an unlikely long haired social wor ...more
Be forewarned, there are a multitude of descriptive sexual situations and other deplorable acts for those weak at heart, and this is not a feel good book by any means, yet at times, (thankfully) t...more
Pete Snow is a social worker in rural Montana in the early 1980s, struggling to do right by his messed-up clients--especially the kids. His work is all kinds of rough, as you might expect in a region with low incomes and minimal infrastructure. And Pete's own life is no cake walk--he took the job in remote Tenmile in part to escape his failed marriage and fractious family. He's not perfect, but he's trying hard.
Things kick into gear when he encounters Benjamin Pear ...more
Well, right away have to chalk this up to being unsure if he's read the same book as everyone else -- or maybe just another case of bad timing (possibly/potentially right book at the wrong time/mood)? Getting the rating out of the way, it's a rounded-up 3 star "good" book, but unofficially 2.5 stars for just being on the fence about "liking" it.
It is a grim, dark, bleak, gritty -- almost relentlessly so -- novel of dysfunction, violence, and abuse in rural Montana. This did not stop me from li ...more
Smith Henderson’s smashing, crashing, tour de force debut novel, Fourth of July Creek churns with this sort of Action-Misunderstanding-Reaction and a h ...more
I loved this book. It's not a happy book and I'm not sure there is any hope in the book. That's up to each reader to decide. It's a well written book that's hard be ...more
For 460 pages Henderson hustles and moves with this story, packs punches and surprises, lingers where he needs to linger and skips where he doesn’t. I was wary of this one. I’ll admit it: wary of the hype, wary of how much it sounded like it should be exactly my thing. Wary of how much energy it might take if I loved it— or worse, if I didn’t.
I love to be dead wrong. What did it turn out to be? Exactly my thing, no “should” or “maybe” about it. Pete Snow. The Pearls. Mary and Ceci ...more
In so many ways, the story Henderson tells here describes an American experience most of us never have to see — but should. Far from big cities or either coast, his characters are the poor and working poor in sparsely populated towns that few escape and no one ever moves to. His book follows a Montana social worker in the early 1980s.
All week Ron Charles, who reviewed the book for us, was looking ...more
It's interesting to read about lives of the poor in societies which are considered to be rich and prosperous. Most often they're brushed aside and ignored, while the lens of attention is focused solely on the glamorous and glittering places - forcing the great unwashed out to areas where many of us wouldn't even look at.
The novel is set in such a place - somewhere in northwestern Montanta, near th ...more
Debut novelist Henderson Smith has written a tale about rural America that is both bleak and suffused with a bone-dry wit. Most of us do not have any reason to deal with the Department of Family Services in our state, but in my job as a psychiatric pediatric RN in Austin, I have my fair share of in- and out-of-state hook-ups (on the phone, or they come to us). Here in the outback ber ...more
Then, you find out about Pete’s own home life, which is not very different from his clients’. And like them ...more
This, however, gets compared to Suttree - which is my favourite McCarthy, so I picked it up immediately - & its both like Cormac & it isn't. Most importantly, Smith Henderson isn't copying Cormac's narrativ ...more
Pete is a social worker in a remote region where he ran because his wife was having an affair. That's basically where you get dropped off in the beginning. It all goes downhill from there. I mean downhill as in for Pete, not as in the book. No, the book was fabulous and fantastically pulled me in from the get- ...more
A more detailed review can be found on my blog at https://alenaslife.wordpress.com/2014...
Once Upon a River
It is an emotional, often violen ...more
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, Chapters 19-25||9||17||4 hours, 5 min ago|
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, Chapters 9-18||18||22||Dec 23, 2014 03:46PM|
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, Whole Book Discussion, SPOILERS||13||28||Dec 23, 2014 03:26PM|
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, Chapters 26 - Epilogue||7||12||Dec 21, 2014 12:16AM|
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, General Discussion, NO SPOILERS||13||32||Dec 17, 2014 04:54PM|
|21st Century Lite...: 12/14 Fourth of July Creek, Reading Schedule||1||22||Nov 30, 2014 11:54PM|
Fourth of July Creek is his first novel.