Fourth of July Creek is a suspenseful and awesome story about a social worker in rural Montana who comes across a religious survivalist nut job living in the woods with his undernourished child. Pete Snow, the social worker, despite warnings, tries repeatedly to engage Jeremiah, the nut job. Pete is a caring social worker, but a damaged dude in his own right. You will cancel plans to keep reading this book. It's great! Recommended By Britt A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy's profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.
But as Pete's own family spins out of control, Pearl's activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.
In this shattering and iconic American novel, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion, and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions. Fourth of July Creek is an unforgettable, unflinching debut that marks the arrival of a major literary talent.
"This uneven debut, set in 1980 Montana, isn't always able to sustain the interest of its opening sections. The first chapter introduces us to social worker Pete Snow, who has been called by the police to defuse a domestic dispute between a 15-year-old boy, who has been in trouble with the law repeatedly, and his speed-addicted mother. The situation is grim, but Snow goes above and beyond the call of duty to place the teenager in a stable and supportive environment. His greater challenge comes with his next case: a boy who shows up on the playground of the local school dirty and reeking. The child, Benjamin Pearl, is reticent about revealing the circumstances at home, and Snow finds trying to help him difficult; Benjamin's reclusive and angry father is opposed to assistance, even making the boy strip naked rather than wear the clean clothes Snow has provided. Snow's efforts to help the Pearls despite the father's hostility are the focus of the book, which is too long and features an unsatisfying ending. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Smith Henderson is the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction. He was a 2011 Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a 2011 Pushcart Prize winner, and a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He currently works at the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. Born and raised in Montana, he now lives in Portland, Oregon.