Monday, July 20, 2015

Fourth Of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Despite its Rocky Mountain altitude, Tenmile Creek, Montana is about as low as you can go. And as the area’s only Children’s Protective Services case worker, Pete Snow has seen some of the lowest. Gas huffing teens, drug-addled parents threatening to kill their own kids, children abused inside supposed “safe” state facilities: all in a day’s work.

And Pete has his own share of problems. An alcoholic ex-wife, a runaway teen daughter, his brother on the run for assault, and his own emergent alcoholism all conspire to drag Pete down. In many ways, Pete Snow is no better, and certainly no worse, than most of his clients. Maybe that’s why he’s so good at his job. And why that job takes such a heavy toll on him. As he tells his ex-wife: “I take kids away from people like us.”

 But when Pete is called to investigate a feral child found on the school playground in town, he encounters an America for which he is totally unprepared. Pete returns the child to his father, Jeremiah Pearl, a seriously brilliant paranoid. Living off-the-grid in the wilderness of Fourth of July Creek, and convinced that the end of the world is approaching, survivalist Jeremiah Pearl both horrifies and fascinates Pete with his apocalyptic ranting.

Beautifully written, though grimly drawn, Fourth Of July Creek describes an America that has stumbled and how that fall affects us all, especially its most vulnerable. And, like the mostly decent folk of Tenmile Creek, we have no choice but to get back up and try again. Henderson Smith’s Fourth of July Creek is not an easy read, but it is a richly rewarding one.

And you can reserve it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment