Empire Falls: What is it about small towns?

Empire Falls - Richard Russo

I grew up in a small town where I knew the majority of its residents or if not the faces were familiar. I was known mostly by association and not my name. A granddaughter of a lifelong member and still current resident (at 94 years old) of the same small town. Suffice it to say, because of this, I was not one to get into trouble because it would be found out immediately. 


This might be why I enjoyed Empire Falls, the story of a small town and in particular one resident named Miles Roby. This story told the struggles of his life, his flawed family, and the oppressed town he tried to, but never really left. It also included many lively and unsavory characters that grew up and know each other's history and how their lives are forever intermingled.


For me, Miles Roby is an everyday, humble, unsung hero. He is a stand-up, nice guy and tries to do the right thing in spite of being continuously antagonized and tested.  He gave up his ambition and instead traded it for responsibility.  Does that make him noble? Why or why not?


Now I look forward to watching the movie and whether the characters are the same as I "read" them to be.