Everybody's Fool Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Everybody's Fool.
This section contains 685 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Everybody's Fool Summary & Study Guide Description

Everybody's Fool Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo.

Note: This study guide specifically refers to the 2016 Alfred A. Knopf First Hardcover Edition of Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo.

Everybody’s Fool is a contemporary novel by Richard Russo in which the lives of a handful of the citizens of North Bath, New York, play out over the course of Memorial Day Weekend. When the novel begins, Police Chief Douglas Raymer arrives to attend the funeral of the deceased Judge Flatt. Raymer has not been to the cemetery since the accidental death of his wife, Becka, who fell down the stairs while Raymer was at work as she prepared to leave him for another man. Raymer spends much of the novel trying to find his wife’s lover by using the garage door opener he found hidden in her old car –an opener which did not belong to him. Raymer is late to the funeral because he has personally responded to a call about Alice, Mayor Moynihan’s wife, who is mentally unstable and wanders off.

At the same time, Donald “Sully” Sullivan is having lunch at Hattie’s, where Ruth, the owner, serves him. Ruth and Sully had an affair a decade ago and have remained friends. Roy Purdy, ex-husband of Ruth’s daughter Janey and father of Janey’s daughter Tina, interrupts their morning. Roy is an ex-con and a woman-beater, and shouts at Ruth. Sully yells at Roy, who says that trailers, like the kind Sully lives in, are fire hazards. As Sully leaves, a gas explosion causes the north wall of the Old Mill Lofts, a luxury apartment building, collapses on Roy. Roy is injured, but not killed. Meanwhile, Rub Squeers finishes work at the cemetery, where he reflects on his best friend Sully, and on the knowledge that Sully has a heart condition which will give him one to two more years of life. Rub cannot imagine a world without Sully.

Charice, a beautiful young black woman who works in the police station office, directs Raymer to the Old Mill, then to Morrison Arms apartments, where an illegal snake seller’s snakes have gotten loose. Morrison is where Raymer lives, so Charice tells him he can stay with her. Raymer accepts, alternating between anger at his dead wife, anger at the man she planned to run off with, and romantic inclinations toward Charice. Raymer learns from Charice through her brother, Jerome, a police office and liaison to a neighboring town called Schuyler Springs, that the services of both towns will be merged, meaning there will be cuts and people fired. A bad storm comes that night, during which time Janey invites Roy over, and the two sleep together. When Ruth discovers this the next morning, she is enraged. Roy attacks Ruth, bashing her head with a glass until Sully stops him by slamming Roy in the head with a skillet. Roy escapes before the law arrives. Ruth is taken to the hospital and survives her injuries.

The following day, Raymer continues to struggle with his feelings for the much younger Charice, while catching the snake seller and continuing to look for the man who had the affair with his wife. Roy, meanwhile, plots revenge and prepares to set Sully’s trailer on fire while Sully is out. Sully, meanwhile, spends his time looking for Roy, but his heart troubles him and he passes out. As a result, he is taken to the hospital while Zack, husband of Ruth, arrives at Sully’s trailer to update Sully about Ruth. Zack discovers Roy and sets the trailer on fire, killing Roy in order to protect his family. Raymer soon learns that Jerome had an affair with Becka and that Charice does have genuine feelings for him. Raymer decides to let the past go and to forgive Jerome and Charice, who knew about the affair but never said anything. He and Charice begin a relationship. Meanwhile, Sully’s time in the hospital leads to life-saving surgery in which he is given the risky operation of a defibrillator, which he survives. Sully is happy to be old and alive.

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