Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This may be one of my favorite books of this year - it's fantastic! I still can't quite believe it's a debut novel! I will say that this one took me awhile to get into - and I think that was partly a result of getting connected to the narrative voice as well as the 'feel' of the overall story. But, once I connected, WOW! I couldn't stop reading. I wanted more and more and more!
Well written, really interesting and multi-faceted characters, realism at every turn! The primary thing that pulled me in initially was the social work angle - I'm always pulled into stories about social workers and the families they serve. This may be one of the most realistic depictions of the challenges of being a child protective services worker that I've read in fiction. This social worker isn't the usual do-gooder we see in fiction ... this man is flawed and real and at times very dark. As real people can be.
This story felt very realistic and true to life. The characters felt the same. This is a gritty book that doesn't flinch from the hard things in life. In fact, it pulls up close and really explores the darker side of things in life. And I loved this book for that unflinching look it gives the reader!
I highly recommend this one ... but don't give up on it if you don 't immediately connect to the story or the characters. Give it time, live in the world a bit and I bet you'll begin to connect! It is so worth it! I cannot wait to see what Smith Henderson has coming for us in the future if this book is any indication of his talent!