|Adam Pellman with Independence Day by Richard Ford|
"With the July 4th holiday having just passed, I thought it would be an ideal time to read a novel set during that time of year, Richard Ford's Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day. The novel is a follow-up to Ford's celebrated 1986 novel The Sportswriter, which follows divorced sportswriter Frank Bascombe as he grapples with his failed marriage, the death of his young son, and his assorted unfulfilled aspirations. Independence Day picks up several year later, during the July 4th holiday weekend in 1988, as Frank, now a realtor, continues to deal with his many failings. He struggles to close a home sale with a bickering out-of-state couple, his relationship with his girlfriend is crumbling, and his two-day road trip with his troubled teenage son, who lives with Frank's remarried ex-wife, does not go as planned.
"It's a beautifully-written novel, and Ford makes the seemingly mundane details of everyday life feel fresh and compelling. Frank has many flaws, and I don't recall finding him all that likeable when I read The Sportswriter about five years ago. But I have a great deal more sympathy for Frank in this book, maybe because I'm now closer to his age, and have more life experience under my belt."