Winter's Bone [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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Winter's Bone

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
The author is obsessed by the weirdness of incongruity: the way the little boys watch fancy English ways on public television while their own lives drown in squalor; the way Ree and Gail bicker over processed grated cheese in the general store; the way the most villainous mountain women can be felled not by gunshot but by that most subtle and feminine of weapons -- round after round of righteous gossip. I don't know if this is a book that the reader is supposed to like or not. Woodrell simply shows us a world, the raw meat of it. If we can't stomach his reality, it's our problem, not his.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Woodrell flirts with but doesn't succumb to cliche in his eighth novel, a luminescent portrait of the poor and desperate South that drafts 16-year-old Ree Dolly, blessed with "abrupt green eyes," as its unlikely heroine. Ree, too young to escape the Ozarks by joining the army, cares for her two younger brothers and mentally ill mother after her methamphetamine-cooking father, Jessup, disappears. Recently arrested on drug charges, Jessup bonded out of jail by using the family home as collateral, but with a court date set in one week's time and Jessup nowhere to be found, Ree has to find him dead or alive or the house will be repossessed. At its best, the novel captures the near-religious criminal mania pervasive in rural communities steeped in drug culture. Woodrell's prose, lyrical as often as dialogic, creates an unwieldy but alluring narrative that allows him to draw moments of unexpected tenderness from predictable scripts: from Ree's fearsome, criminal uncle Teardrop, Ree discovers the unshakable strength of family loyalty; from her friend Gail and her woefully dependant siblings, Ree learns that a faith in kinship can blossom in the face of a bleak and flawed existence. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Ree Dolly wants to leave behind the poverty of her Ozark childhood, but her dream is threatened when her father posts their house as his bail bond and disappears. The house is all they have, and Ree knows she cannot take care of her sick mother and younger brothers without a roof over their heads. To find her father, Ree seeks out the outlaw element of the Dolly clan. Although they are family, these Dollys do not like visitors, and Ree is asking dangerous questions. But she is determined, and her efforts pay off when some dangerous women agree to share what they know. But finding the truth has its costs, and Ree realizes that her father's mistakes might cost her her dream. This lyrical and haunting story exposes the dark underside of its scenic setting. Amidst the hills of the Missouri Ozarks, a deadly world of addiction and violence thrives. Woodrell captures Ree's stark surroundings and brutal life as well as her tender love for her unbalanced mother and her vulnerable brothers. It is a story of drugs and poverty, but the book's ending teeters too close to happily-ever-after. Ree's triumph-keeping her family together in the family home-is tainted by an unbelievable final windfall. Despite the questionable ending, some teens will be drawn into Ree's story. But the book is not for the young or the faint-of-heart; Ree is not a saint, and this gritty story requires maturity to appreciate. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2006, Little Brown, 208p., Ages 15 to Adult.
—Anita Beaman
KLIATT - KLIATT Review
Ree is one of the Dollys, a large extended family whose members pepper the Ozarks. Most of them are poor, and lots of them are involved with drugs and have served jail time. When new children are born to a Dolly, many of them are given the same name as their unfortunate relatives, continuing an unbroken pattern of hardship with no chance for escape. Ree's father has apparently skipped town to avoid facing drug charges. Ree is only 16, but she is in charge of the house, as her mother long ago lost her mind and barely gets out of bed each day. Already faced with the responsibility of caring for her two younger brothers, Ree is unprepared to hear that her father used the house and land as a bond. If he doesn't appear in court, the entire family will be put out in the cold, and winter is approaching. It's too much for a girl her age to deal with, but Ree shoulders on, continually exposing herself to perilous situations by asking her rough relatives questions they don't want to answer. As Ree gets closer to the truth, she puts herself in greater danger, not knowing whether her father is even alive. She eventually gets severely beaten for her troubles, and even though she is treated quite poorly all around, the family code of "taking care of one's own" still applies. Ultimately, it is her relatives who reveal the true fate of her father. This is a bleak yet powerful novel about family ties, and the lengths that people will go to in order to keep family together. Readers will admire Ree for her determination in the face of terrible hardship. Recommended for senior high school students who enjoy literary fiction or stories of rural mountain life. Age Range: Ages 15 to adult. REVIEWER:Olivia Durant (Vol. 42, No. 1)
Library Journal
Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly has a plan. She's going to join the army as soon as she can free herself from her complicated family obligations. Unfortunately, her father, part of a large extended Dolly family crystal meth enterprise, is missing. Her mother's mind is gone, and two little brothers worship at Ree's feet. Ree gets word that her father has skipped bail; if he doesn't meet his court date, the family loses its home, and there's nowhere to go. Ree begins a journey through the savage poverty of a brutally cold Ozarks winter to deliver her father before his court date. Woodrell's captivatingly resourceful protagonist both enchants and horrifies with her fierce determination to get to the truth of her father's disappearance and to protect her brothers. When she takes on the Dolly family's deep, cancerous control of the meth network, the eruption of violence nearly costs her everything. Woodrell's eighth novel (after The Death of Sweet Mister) exposes the tragedy of crystal meth in rural America in all its brutal ugliness in language that is both razor sharp and grimly gorgeous. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/06.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In the poverty-stricken hills of the Ozarks, Rees Dolly, 17, struggles daily to care for her two brothers and an ill mother. When she learns that her absent father, a meth addict, has put up the family home as bond, she embarks on a dangerous search to find him and bring him home for an upcoming court date. Her relatives, many of whom are in the business of "cooking crank," thwart her at every turn, but her fight to save the family finally succeeds. Rees is by turns tough and tender. She teaches her brothers how to shoot a shotgun, and even box, the way her father had taught her. Her hope is "that these boys would not be dead to wonder by age twelve, dulled to life, empty of kindness, boiling with mean." A male friend feeds her hallucinogenic mushrooms and then assaults her. But, like Mattie Ross in Charles Portis's True Grit (Penguin, 1995), Rees beats the odds with spunk and courage. In spare but evocative prose, Woodrell depicts a harsh world in which the responsibilities for survival ultimately give Rees meaning and direction. He depicts the landscape, people, and dialects with stunning realism. A compelling testament to how people survive in the worst of circumstances.-Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, Va Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A stoical Appalachian girl strives to rescue her family from her father's criminal legacy in Woodrell's bleak, mean, gripping eighth novel. In Missouri's Rathlin Valley near the Arkansas border, "crank" cooker and dealer Jessup Dolly has jumped bail, leaving his 16-year-old daughter Ree to look after her younger brothers and their helpless Mom, once a spirited beauty, now a passive recluse sunk in the dreamy recesses of her "broken" mind. If Jessup doesn't return for trial, his family will be evicted, their land sold for timber, and they'll find shelter only among the hillside caves where generations of itinerant ancestors weathered their passage to settlement, led by their hardbitten patriarch Haslam. An Old Testament harshness and spareness indeed shadow this grim tale, as Ree seeks her father, dead or alive, aided by her childhood friend (and sometime lover), unhappily married Gail Langan. It's an odyssey rich with echoes of Inman's journey in Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, the homicidal poetry of Cormac McCarthy's tense narratives (with random bits and snatches of Elmore Leonard and Harry Crews), as Ree doggedly perseveres, querying her sullen and inscrutable Uncle Teardrop, her wrathful kinsman Thump Milton and his menacing passel of gun-toting cronies and combative womenfolk-considering the increasingly likely possibility that Jessup had "turned snitch" and met his fate at the hands of his former accomplices. The truth both endangers Ree's life and sets her free, in a coiled-spring narrative whose precisely honed prose vibrates with arresting descriptive phrases ("Houses above look caught on the scraggly hillsides like combs in a beard and apt to fall as suddenly") and unsparingdoom-laden pronouncements ("Either he stole or he told. Those are the things they kill you for"). And the unforgettable Ree is a heroine like no other. Every bit as good as Woodrell's icy The Death of Sweet Mister (2001)-in other words, about as good as it gets.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The lineage from Faulkner to Woodrell runs as deep and true as an Ozark stream in this book. . .his most profound and haunting yet."
St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Sometimes brutal, sometimes mordantly funny, sometimes surprisingly sweet . . .I just didn't want WINTER'S BONE to end."
New York Times Book Review
"Woodrell's Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers."
Kansas City Star
"Daniel Woodrell has produced another stunner, a bleak, beautifully told story about the inescapable bonds of land and blood--fiction at its finest."
People Magazine
Heroines this inspiring don't come along often. When they do, they deserve our attention.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The plot of WINTER'S BONE is uncomplicated, yet it packs a kind of biblical, Old West, Cormac McCarthy wallop--hard and deep."
Donald Harrington
A courageous, audacious, resourceful 16-year-old girl destined to enter the pantheon of literature's heroines.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Harper Barnes
Sometimes brutal, sometimes mordantly funny, sometimes surprisingly sweet . . .I just didn't want WINTER'S BONE to end.
St. Louis Post Dispatch
David Bowman
Woodrell's Old Testament prose and blunt vision have a chilly timelessness that suggests this novel will speak to readers as long as there are readers.
New York Times Book Review
Vick Boughton
Heroines this inspiring don't come along often. When they do, they deserve our attention.
People
Michael Heaton
The plot of WINTER'S BONE is uncomplicated, yet it packs a kind of biblical, Old West, Cormac McCarthy wallop—hard and deep.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Donald Harington
A courageous, audacious, resourceful 16-
year-old girl destined to enter the pantheon of literature's heroines.
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"A courageous, audacious, resourceful 16-year-old girl destined to enter the pantheon of literature's heroines."
People
"Heroines this inspiring don't come along often. When they do, they deserve our attention."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316007382
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 7/11/2007
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 22,722
  • File size: 876 KB

Meet the Author

Daniel Woodrell's five most recent novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel in 1999. He lives in the Ozarks near the Arkansas line with his wife, Katie Estill.
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Read an Excerpt

Winter's Bone

A Novel
By Daniel Woodrell

LITTLE, BROWN

Copyright © 2006 Daniel Woodrell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-05755-X


Chapter One

REE DOLLY stood at break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs, venison left to the weather for two nights and three days so the early blossoming of decay might round the flavor, sweeten that meat to the bone.

Snow clouds had replaced the horizon, capped the valley darkly, and chafing wind blew so the hung meat twirled from jigging branches. Ree, brunette and sixteen, with milk skin and abrupt green eyes, stood bare-armed in a fluttering yellowed dress, face to the wind, her cheeks reddening as if smacked and smacked again. She stood tall in combat boots, scarce at the waist but plenty through the arms and shoulders, a body made for loping after needs. She smelled the frosty wet in the looming clouds, thought of her shadowed kitchen and lean cupboard, looked to the scant woodpile, shuddered. The coming weather meant wash hung outside would freeze into planks, so she'd have to stretch clothesline across the kitchenabove the woodstove, and the puny stack of wood split for the potbelly would not last long enough to dry much except Mom's underthings and maybe a few T-shirts for the boys. Ree knew there was no gas for the chain saw, so she'd be swinging the ax out back while winter blew into the valley and fell around her.

Jessup, her father, had not set by a fat woodpile nor split what there was for the potbelly before he went down the steep yard to his blue Capri and bounced away on the rut road. He had not set food by nor money, but promised he'd be back soon as he could with a paper sack of cash and a trunkload of delights. Jessup was a broken-faced, furtive man given to uttering quick pleading promises that made it easier for him to walk out the door and be gone, or come back inside and be forgiven.

Walnuts were still falling when Ree saw him last. Walnuts were thumping to ground in the night like stalking footsteps of some large thing that never quite came into view, and Jessup had paced on this porch in a worried slouch, dented nose snuffling, lantern jaw smoked by beard, eyes uncertain and alarmed by each walnut thump. The darkness and those thumps out in the darkness seemed to keep him jumpy. He paced until a decision popped into his head, then started down the steps, going fast into the night before his mind could change. He said, "Start lookin' for me soon as you see my face. 'Til then, don't even wonder."

She heard the door behind her squeak and Harold, age eight, dark and slight, stood in pale long johns, holding the knob, fidgeting from foot to foot. He raised his chin, gestured toward the meat trees across the creek.

"Maybe tonight Blond Milton'll bring us by one to eat."

"That could be."

"Don't kin ought to?"

"That's what is always said."

"Could be we should ask."

She looked at Harold, with his easy smile, black hair riffling in the wind, then snatched his nearest ear and twisted until his jaw fell loose and he raised his hand to swat at hers. She twisted until he bore up under the pain and stopped swatting.

"Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered."

"I'm cold," he said. He rubbed his smarting ear. "Is grits all we got?"

"Butter 'em more. There's still a tat of butter."

He held the door and they both stepped inside.

"No, there ain't."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell Copyright © 2006 by Daniel Woodrell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 257 )
Rating Distribution

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(96)

4 Star

(80)

3 Star

(43)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(19)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 258 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Impossible To Put Down

    Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell is the first book since Minette Walters' The Shape of Snakes that genuinely took my breath away. On the surface there is absolutely nothing pretty about the world in which 16-year-old Ree Dolly lives. The people of her community in the backwoods of the Ozark mountains are multiple generations into an existence of poverty, violence and drug addiction; a place where the primary source of income has evolved from making moonshine to cooking crank.

    Fortunately for Ree her father, Jessup, is in demand as a crank chef, "practically half famous for it." Unfortunately for her and the two younger brothers and mentally ill mother she's struggling to keep fed and functioning, Jessup has gone missing after being released on bond, a bond secured by signing over the family home as collateral, following his most recent arrest. Unwilling to see her family split up if they lose the family's meager homestead, Ree sets out to find Jessup and make him keep his court date.

    Not only is Jessup nowhere to be found, however, but none of the locals, many of them extended members of the Dolly family, seem inclined to help Ree with her search. In fact, they are downright hostile to her inquiries and seemingly determined to derail her efforts, even by means of violence if necessary. Yet, Ree persists. And throughout it all Woodrell offers glimpses of the hidden beauty lurking beneath the surface of the stark environment, and conveys in no uncertain terms that the people who inhabit it have a deep sense of honor, pride and purpose, just ones that don't necessarily mesh with what most consider normal.

    Winter's Bone is quite possibly the most 'perfect' novel I've ever experienced. And I do mean experienced, because Winter's Bone is not something that one merely reads. Woodrell demands the reader become fully immersed in the world he's created, taking you along step-for-step with Ree on her journey. And what unfolds over the course of Woodrell's taut 200 page story is a testament to the human spirit. No word is wasted, and the look at Ree's life that is presented is unflinching. Winter's Bone is a book that you not so much 'enjoy' as you do appreciate, and you will. Deeply.

    31 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2006

    Chilling and Unforgetable

    Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell's latest Ozarks-centered novel, is a modern-day adventure-quest story about Ree Dolly, a 16-year-old young woman who cares for her feeble-minded mother and her younger brothers while battling to save the family homestead after her father disappears. In Winter's Bone, yesterday's Ozark moonshiners are todays meth cooks, and Woodrell gives a slap-in-the-face stare at their lives. Many of the characters in the book are rough and unlikable. It's chilling to think that there exists in Missouri (where I live) an undercurrent of society depicted in Winter's Bone, yet I'm certain there is. Woodrell's writing is at times breathtaking, and always clear and concise. Winter's Bones is a book I will remember for its sense of place and for the characters Woodrell has painted so vividly with his words. And, although Winter's Bone isn't the most flattering book about the Ozarks and some of its inhabitants, it is a memorable story that's hard to put down. Like the Ozarks' winter depicted in Woodrell's novel, Winter's Bone is stark, intense, and at times beautiful.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    Great Book!

    I thought this book was great! So true yet so sad. It's hard to believe that people really live like this in this day and age but they really do. It was a sad and disturbing story line made all the more sad because it really happens this way today. It ends well but still very sad for Ree. I would love to see another book to take up where this one leaves off so we can keep up with Ree and Gail. My daughter is in the movie version on this book that is being filmed now! Can't wait to see how it does, everyone HAS to go see it! This is a great read but know that it isn't necessarily uplifting, but very thought provoking.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2011

    One of the best books of the new millennium!

    Having read the few negative reviews here, I have to ask myself what kind of true lover of literature could have "hated" this book and deemed it "no good". Each and every word Daniel Woodruff wrote felt like a deliberate and carefully chosen step, guiding the reader on a journey into a desperate culture that is bleak, yet rich and starkly beautiful. His writing is as succinct as his characters are taciturn, both dialog and narrative display the economy of great poetry. I was caught from the first paragraph by the beautifully wrought imagery, and deliberately slowed my reading pace to experience every nuance of this book. I am an avid reader, I couldn't begin to count the books I've read across every genre, and for me, this is one of the greatest books I have ever read.....as nearly perfect as a piece of literature can be.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone is a haunting and disturbing testament to the lives of the Ozark Mountain people. He writes with an insider's knowledge that screams authentic. You will be captivated by Ree Dolly as she attempts to hold on to her existence while at the same time longing to be free of it.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    One the best books I have ever read!

    This is clealy a classic in the making. The characters are so real I feel like I know them and anyone who has grown up truly country knows that the setting and culture of country people is dead on down to the epidemic of meth in rural areas. Ree has an inner strenth that is subtle yet profound. She's a heroine who would deny doing anything special. Truly this book is amazing with a great mystery element that is resolved brillantly....and I can say with authority very real to what many Americans outside of suburbia experience. There's a whole other America out there and this book can take you there.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    Spooky scary and informative...great insight

    I have to say this is quite a read...Describes in detail the life of the Ozarks and how scary things can be in the isolated world of cooking crank and inbred relationships. Don't go looking unless you want to find the answer...This is a tale of courage, caring, and survival...Daniel Woodrell tells the story in a fascinating and detailed fashion..Well worth the time. Be ready to shake and have your eyes opened wide!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    Winter's Bone

    This is an exceptional read. I couldn't put it down.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the Characters

    This beautifully haunting, fast paced drama about a family struggling to survive will stick with me for a long time to come.

    The story revolves around Ree, a teenage girl who is struggling to give her younger siblings a normal life. Life is hard, but it gets harder when the sheriff shows up at Ree's door to tell her that her family is in danger of losing their house. It seems that Ree's father put it up for bond when he was arrested and then skipped out on his bail. This book is like "Where the Lillies Bloom" with a hard, modern edge.

    The writing was some of the best I've come across in a long time, and it carries with it a profound sense of place. Although the adult themes are sensitive, the sense of family and kinship keeps the book from becoming too gritty. The relationship between Ree and her childhood friend was also wonderfully developed.

    My one regret is that the main character did not choose the path I'd hoped she would. I understood Ree's need to protect her family; however, I believe she could have made a better decision. Also, at the crucial moment in the story, she was far more passive than I wanted her to be. I almost had the feeling that she was succumbing to her fate rather than take her future into her own hands.

    Winter's Bone is a beautiful novel about family and the struggle to survive. I highly recommend it.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    2007 Read MOre selection

    'Winter's Bone' has been selected as the 2007 Read MOre selection. Annually, librarians, booksellers, and others across Missouri encourage patrons to read the novel and discuss it as a part of the state's book club initiative. Enjoy!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    I love this book!

    It is such an awesome book. I loved reading about a place that was so copletely different from what I know. I remember when my nook died and I was freaking out to charge it so I could keep reading it.

    The only thing is that the book is a little hard to understand, but once you re-read it it is totally worth it.

    P.S. the movie rocks too!!!!!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Good book!

    Took me a while to really get into this book. The dialect is sometimes hard to 'get' but about halfway through I decided I just couldn't put it down. I thought it was pretty good overall but I will be honest and say that I hoped for a little more at the end. I don't know what more I wanted...but just more of a hook.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2013

    This is just an excellent book. Not a "fun" read, but

    This is just an excellent book. Not a "fun" read, but there is more to life that is interesting than "fun". But, don't get me wrong, I found the book to be very interesting.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    A tough read

    It is a very difficult read. I did not enjoy it.

    3 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Love this book

    Now want to see movie

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Couldn't put it down

    This book was not only a quick read, but the kind of book I had to re-read the book immediately.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good Quick Read

    It was a good story line, but I found myself reading paragraphs over and over again to understand what was going on. As another viewer mentioned, I was a little disappointed in the ending...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    First and foremost, I would like to say that Winter¿s Bone  is

    First and foremost, I would like to say that Winter’s Bone  is not for everyone.  It is a different kind of read and Daniel’s writing style consists of a large focus on the scenery and what’s happening in the background – something that can be unappealing to some. Quite personally, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I like it when an author describes a scene so vividly that, as character speaks for example, I’m picturing the leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind. It adds depth and, with a strong enough imagination, provides a feeling that one is actually living in the world of the characters; characters, in this case, that are far different from the ones I experience in real life. 
    Winter’s Bone begins with Ree Dolly – the heroine of the story - attempting to survive in the harsh environment of the Ozarks with her mentally unstable mother and two brothers. Soon, a local police officer who goes by the name of Baskin informs Ree that her house and the surrounding property has been put up for bond by her father – a man who, at this point, doesn’t seem to be very involved in home life. If Jessup Dolly doesn’t show up, the house will be taken. With this news, Ree goes off on a giant man hunt - asking questions people don’t want to answer and delving into scenarios that would have faltered the bravery of many. On top of all this, she also continues the role of mother and  father towards her siblings. She helps them mature by teaching them how to hunt, to gut, and to cook.
    The story of Winter’s Bone takes place in the Ozark Mountain chain - a plateau that stretches across the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. What’s interesting about this is that Daniel Woodrell himself spent his childhood here. For me, it added a personal touch to the book  when I knew that the scenery descriptions and knowledge about the problems of the Ozarks came from the author’s own life experiences.  
    Another personal factor that the author brings into this book comes with the main character, Ree Dolly. She wishes to leave the Ozarks all behind and join the military which is similar to Mr. Woodrell’s experience of dropping out of high school and joining the marines. Of course, there’s more to this novel than just personal connections. 
    This book does a good job of creating a mystery – a mystery that seems a lot more realistic than some in other novels I’ve read. However, for me, this book didn’t keep me reading because of suspense – or, should I say, lack of – but because the author created a curious urge within me to find out what was happening. Now, I don’t state lack of suspense in a negative way.
    When a novel ends every chapter with a twist or a suspenseful moment, in an ironic way, it makes the novel somewhat predictable. By the seventh chapter of reading a novel structured like this, I’m saying to myself, “I know there will be a twist” and through educated guesses, I can generally figure out what that twist will be before it even happens. So, in other words, if you enjoy books that end every chapter with some character getting shot or a tornado made of fire and razorblades taking out the ISS, this book probably isn’t for you. If you do decide to give this book a try though, one aspect of this book you may enjoy is the main character, Ree Dolly.
    Ree Dolly delves into situations that I likely would not have the bravery of confronting. For example, near the beginning of the novel, she starts her search for her father by questioning her uncle who’s nicknamed “Teardrop” – a man who does drugs almost constantly, has a tear drop tattooed under his eye (hence the name), and is scarred on his face from a meth lab explosion. Now, if I had to question a man like this, I’m not sure if I could have brewed enough bravery to walk within twenty feet of his house but somehow, Ree manages to enter it without much hesitation. The fact that she tries her best to stay strong even in the toughest of times gave me some inspiration toward my own problems. 
    The example above is only a minute example of what Ree puts herself through during the novel. She is definitely a strong character – a character that breaks gender roles consistently and seems to be a sub-theme of the book. As I stated before, Ree Dolly being someone who didn’t take any crap, helped me to enjoy the book. Though there is a strong character and a good mystery, there is an aspect that could turn some away from the book.
    That aspect would be the pace of the plot. To some, it would seem a bit slow in parts. However, the areas that could be deemed slow allow for the reader to glance into Ree’s life and see her in other situations beside the search for her father. For example, the book has a few scenes about Ree teaching the children how to survive. These scenes – though they could be cut completely from the book and the plot wouldn’t be affected – allows the reader to see what her life is actually like on a day-to-day basis. I enjoyed these parts and am a little disappointed that more books I’ve read don’t show the main characters living their daily lives.
    Overall, Winter’s Bone is a good book and one I would recommend to others (as long as I knew they enjoyed similar reads). It’s interesting, it allows for a look into a culture unfamiliar to the majority of people, and is different. As I stated before, this book definitely isn’t for everyone especially for people who enjoy a really fast paced plot and constant twists but, if you are willing to try anything, I would tell you to pick up the book and give it a shot. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    Winter's Bone

    Very interesting book. Hard to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Fantastic read

    The author paints a setting so real the reader can see it. A heart wrenching tale beautifully told.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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