Nobody's Fool; Richard Russo
I've probably owned this book for 10 years and it's remained on my shelf unread until I learned Russo released a sequel and THEN I had to read it. Why did I wait so long? It's wonderful.
Nobody's Fool is Donald "Sully" Sullivan is a 60 year old unemployed construction worker. Sully is one of those guys who seems to be their own worst enemy, yet you feel for him as the story progresses. He's got a bad knee, an ex-wife and an adult son he's never really gotten to know. The couple separated when his son was very young.
Set in rural North Bath, New York, this novel is full of small town charm and large as life characters who you really get to know. The dialogue made me laugh and the conversations seemed just as I'd imagine everyday people to be having. The people meet at the diner and secrets are hard to keep in a small town like this.
Sully's son, Pete is going through a difficult time as well. His marriage is on the rocks and he has been denied tenure at the college where he teaches. He has two sometimes difficult young boys and, of course, the strained relationship with Sully.
There were touching moments in the story when Sully seems to bond with his grandson who has some insecurity issues much like his dad did as a young boy. The interactions between Sully, the young boy and key characters made me smile. Sully is just so genuine -- warts and all.
The story is filled with small town charm and characters who will feel like some people you've met along the way. Like Russo's Pulitzer Prize winning Empire Falls, Nobody's Fool was a rewarding read. Russo is one author who can capture blue-collar people. Read this if you want a great story complete with quirky and memorable characters. I can't wait to read the sequel, Everybody's Fool.