Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Review: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Title: Winter's Bone
Author: Daniel Woodrell
Pages: 193
My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

Winter's Bone takes place in the Missouri Ozarks, near the Arkansas line. The story follows a sixteen year old girl named Ree Dolly. Her father is out of prison on bond and if he does not make his court date, Ree and her family will lose both their house, and their land. So, on top of having to take care of her two younger brothers and her pill-popping mom, she must now go out and find her father. The entire story follows Ree along her journey in trying to hunt her father down. She must navigate her way through the Ozark Wilderness and interrogate some extremely shady characters.

To truly appreciate the story, you must have an understanding of Ozark culture. Woodrell grew up in this area, and knows what he is talking about. The residents of the Ozarks believe that blood is thicker than water. They will do anything for their "kin," lie for them, fight for them, and even kill for them. They are also extremely distrustful of both outsiders and law enforcement. They instead settle things their own way. Also, the environment can be tough to live in, not everybody can do it.

Ree Dolly is an extremely strong character. She provides for her family, and does more than just cook for them. She teaches her siblings how to survive also. She knows that there is no way you can survive out in the Ozarks unless you have a certain skill set. Most people would be afraid to just wonder out in the wilderness and ask questions to people that do not want to answer. She leans really quick that finding her father may be tougher than she had originally thought.

This story stays in your head, and thoughts about the story will fill your mind and keep you awake at night. I would never have thought that this book would get to me so much, but it did. I even had to go purchase the film, just so I could see the book come to life. I have to warn you, there are some differences between the film and book (as always). If you have already seen the film and not read the book, you are seriously missing out. The film actually leaves out tiny details that are essential to fully understanding what exactly is going on. Due to the fact that I read the book before I saw the film, I was able to read in-between the lines and pick up on things that others would have never even thought about.

It is really weird to actually say it, but I am glad that I was forced to read and do a report on Winter's Bone. If it was not for this assignment, I would have never picked up this book. I realize now, that I would have been really missing out, and it makes me wonder "What other books have I overlooked?"

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