Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bloodroot” as Want to Read:
Bloodroot
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bloodroot

by
3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,597 Ratings  ·  1,329 Reviews
Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.

The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary
...more
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bloodroot, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bloodroot

Cold Mountain by Charles FrazierChristy by Catherine MarshallProdigal Summer by Barbara KingsolverShe Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumbFair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
Best Books Set in Appalachia
20th out of 405 books — 628 voters
Room by Emma DonoghueA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganFreedom by Jonathan FranzenThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderSkippy Dies by Paul Murray
2011 Tournament of Books
10th out of 16 books — 127 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
karen
May 26, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
this was recommended to me in the RA group when i was whining about wanting more books like winter's bone and dogs of god and gritty appalachia stuff like that.

this is not as dark as either of those books, the stakes of survival are lower, but it is still a book i would recommend. as a readalike, it seems closer to Garden Spells, which i have not read, but have been assured is a contemporary magical realism masterpiece. there are definitely things that happen to characters in this novel that i
...more
Sarah
May 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Wow. After the slightly mixed reviews from Goodreads and the kind of cheesy, vague (and somewhat misleading, I think) description on the front flap, I was expecting this to be a decent, folksy read. But I just finished it and I can't stop thinking about it.

There's something haunting about the book. My heart just broke for all the characters. The writing was breathtakingly beautiful and the author even managed to weave in the accents and local ways of speaking without sounding contrived or making
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Very nearly five stars. This is a slightly less gritty variation on the traditional Southern novel. It follows four generations of women in a Tennessee family. They are supposedly cursed because one of them was born with "haint blue" eyes, but the real curse is poverty and ignorance. Limited opportunities for girls in the rural South made them throw away their lives on the first boy who paid them any attention. There are Southern traditions and superstitions aplenty here, mostly of dubious origi ...more
Janelle
Feb 10, 2011 Janelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, favorites
I can only think to classify this as a story-tellin' fictional read. There isn't a whole lot of dialogue but there is a whole lot of storytelling from six different perspectives. You can't call it a novel, you can't call it fantasy, certainly not chick-lit or magical. It's downright good story tellin'!

It's a telling of people involved in the life of Myra Mayes-Odum. A wild and spirited mountain girl of the Appalachia region. We read about Myra from the perspective of a child hood friend who love
...more
Djrmel
This book brought an interesting question to my mind: Do you blame bland story telling on the writer or the character when the book is told in first person? Okay, so I only entertained the question as a way of explaining how the first part of this three sectioned book could be so engaging, so vivid, and the rest of the book almost mind numbing, even with a plot straight out of my favorite genre, Southern Gothic. Yes, it is the author's fault if four of her six characters almost ruin a great tale ...more
Jessica
Apr 13, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Yay, finally a 5 star book! Lately everything I've been reading has been so mediocre, this was such a breath of fresh air. This was a wonderful example of good ole Southern literature. While not QUITE as gritty as some of the Southern classics, this still tugs at your heartstrings plenty. I loved the way it was written, from the viewpoints of many different characters. It was interesting to watch everything tie together and see why and how some of them acted the way they did. A must-read for lov ...more
Greg Zimmerman
Mar 12, 2011 Greg Zimmerman rated it it was amazing
Don't be surprised if you see Amy Greene's Bloodroot make its way onto several of the literary prize short lists later this year. It's that good; a wonderfully engrossing story by a debut novelist who writes with amazing clarity, emotion, authenticity and beauty.

Bloodroot is a plant that has the power both to cure or kill; it's the central symbol throughout a novel rich with dichotomy (love and hate, life and death). Bloodroot is also the name of the mountain in dirt-poor East Tennessee where th
...more
Natalie
May 27, 2010 Natalie rated it really liked it
There are parts of this book that are amazing. Greene's talent and ability are undeniable. There are some lines that are just stunning. I don't have a problem with the sequence or the multiple voices as other reviews do, and agree that this book is similar in structure (and sometimes voice) to those by Lee Smith. I was particularly reminded of Oral History.

My problems are two fold. First, while I like how certain "minor" story lines from individual sections came back again in later sections, I'm
...more
Chrissie
ETA: There is another theme central to this book – love. Love has violence imbedded in it. Love tears us apart. Each chapter is told from one character’s viewpoint. I gave this book three stars, yet it continues to occupy my thoughts.

**********************

I enjoyed this book for its ability to put me in in a place where I had never been before. It drew a picture of the South (Tennessee) during the 70s in a remote country town and in mountain-side communities. Superstition, belief in spirits and
...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Wow!!!
I was really impressed with this one.
I grabbed it off the shelf at the library because it looked interesting and right next to the book I was really looking for. I love when I find a great unexpected book. The story line between characters was written beautifully. I really felt the characters. Kudos!!
Josh
Jan 28, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me to "enjoy" a book on CD takes pretty good story telling. This book meets that test. It was a 4.5 that I figure would make full 5 star status had I read it in print.

It's a multi-generational story that meanders along the mountain paths and small town lives of a host of narrators who all get engulfed one way or another in the wild and wily life of the lead character. Myra Lamb is a girl with "haint blue" eyes that lives vicariously- drawn along her fate line by influence and intuition alik
...more
Sarah
In a nutshell: the lit-fic version of a bizarro V.C. Andrews multi-generational saga. There's a lot of violence (particularly against womenfolk), a lot of backwoods superstition (or is that mysticism?), & a lot of unhappy, cyclical D00M.

Stylistically, I can't give this book less than 4 stars. I loved the author's depiction of rural Appalachia, & she can definitely write. I really liked how she managed to give the narrators a regional twang without resorting to phonetic dialect & over
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 31, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I had such a hard time rating this book. If I were to rate it based on writing style alone, I would have given it five stars. I hesitate to give it more stars because of content. Generally, and on principle, I do not like to give five stars to books with an "Oprah" feel. And by that, I mean, books that are triumph over circumstance, all the while detailing the nitty, gritty details of abuse and depressing living conditions.

That said, "Bloodroot" is a hugely atmospheric and intense read. Charact
...more
Cynthia
Jan 27, 2010 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
In her debut novel set in East Tennessee Greene tells the story of an isolated mountain family who through many generations have gifts of healing, seeing into people’s hearts, soothing animals. At the center of the story is Myra, her grandmother and Myra’s boy and girl twins. After Myra’s grandfather dies she and her grandmother live on their mountain through their own wits and hard work and help from a few neighbors.

Then Myra falls almost fatally in love with Johnny and he with her but their lo
...more
Ashley Tague
Ashley Tague rated it it was amazing
May 17, 2014
Sandra
Feb 06, 2010 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen
May 30, 2010 Colleen rated it it was ok
I am very surprised that this book has an average rating of 3.89; apparently I am in the minority on my feelings about this book. I thought it was so boring. There was very little that actually happened in this book and other than Byrdie, none of the characters were really that likeable. I also didn’t care for the author’s use of the Appalachian vernacular (it didn’t bother me in The Help when the author wrote “black” but for some reason it bugged me in this book). There were so many questions t ...more
Sarah
Sep 10, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Wow. Really...wow.

A dark and twisted fate of generations entangled together through a mountain that is enticing, yet incredibly haunting. Amy Greene had me so wrapped up in this magical and beautiful world of family legends and folklore that I was brought to tears (on the subway) when I realized it was going to fall to pieces.

You weave in and out of past/present, magic/madness, hate/love, safety/danger. Within this back and forth construction, the utterly depressing present day reality for two
...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Thank you, Sarah, for this awesome recc. This book was everything I wanted in a book.

I have to echo Sarah and mention that this book reads like V.C. Andrews without all the cheese and camp. Also southern gothic needs to be more of a thing. I would eat up more books like this with a spoon. NOM.

I'm having a fangirl moment.

Perhaps a more in depth review later? I just don't want to give too much away.
Pamela
Jul 06, 2009 Pamela rated it really liked it
I was afraid Bloodroot would sentimentalize Appalachia for the refined reading palate, but Amy Greene does not (often) slip into this false romance. Don't let the jacket fool you—Bloodroot is vicious, and by the second half of the novel, I had to remind myself to breathe while reading. The Dorothy Allison comparisons, by the way, are perfectly apt.
Donna
Mar 16, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
I don't even know where to start. There are so many things rolling around in my head and my heart.

I did the audio and it was great. The readers were amazing. They brought the characters to life that would have made the author swell with pride.

This was told from several different points of view. I'm usually not a fan of that format, but it seemed to work in this book.

The author breathed real life into her characters through such a strong descriptive style. Her descriptions were focused, vivid an
...more
TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
Despite the fact that the cover of Amy Greene’s debut novel, Bloodroot, is a dreamy, pastoral image, the story this book tells is dark, brooding, and at times, forbidding. Set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Greene shows us a side of Appalachia that many readers would rather forget – a side beset by poverty so pervasive that it begets violence, a violence that spills over from one generation into the next.

Spanning three generations, Bloodroot centers around the high spirited, blue-eyed, bla
...more
Nikki
Mar 07, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it
I wish it was possible to give fractions of stars.

There were things I liked about this book. At times, Amy Greene offered up a pretty turn of phrase; the dialogue is familiar to me, as a) I live in North Carolina and b) I have family in Tennessee, very close to where the story is set. I liked the descriptions of Bloodroot Mountain--in my mind, I pictured the mountains near where my dad grew up in northeast Tennessee--wild and dappled with sunlight and beautiful.

That said, I was not in love with
...more
Suzanne Moore
The setting of the Appalachia Mountains is what drew me to this book. My family is from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and I spent most of my adult years in Tennessee. Amy Greene describes the scenery with flawless detail.
From the days of the depression to present time, Greene’s characters endure many hardships. Myra is the central character whose past connects to her children’s future. The family seems to have been cursed, and Bertie, Myra’s grandmother, believes it may be related
...more
Amy
Feb 08, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
“It doesn’t take as much to poison a horse as people think.”

“I might have won her respect. Or maybe she smells my acceptance of the truth that she’s tried to tell me all along. Some creatures are just meant to be left alone. They can’t be held on to, even if we love them more than anything.”



It is sentences like these that reach out and grab you , pulling you into this book, a stunning new novel by Amy Greene. The book is an epic story of several generations living near Bloodroot Mountain. It’s n
...more
Melissa
Mar 27, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
Dec 07, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful, transporting book. I lost track of subway stops today which is always the mark of an excellent book.

Whenever a book is set in the South, I get anxious about the depiction of Southerners and I was a bit leery at first. Nevertheless, Greene is a remarkable storyteller and thanks to her terrific narration, her characters come to life in a rich, yet nuanced manner. I felt she had just the right touch, revealing in pieces and always leaving you aching for more. Like another reviewer
...more
Gina
This novel made me feel. I don't know what else to say or how to describe it. I felt the characters' love, fear, desperation, and dirt. This was probably the most moving story I have read in quite awhile. It is the story of a family from Bloodroot Mountain in Tennessee. It begins with Granny's story of where she came from in Chickweed Holler, her marriage, and the birth and death of her daughter Clio. We learn of Clio's daughter, Myra, and her twin's Laura and John and how their lives intertwine ...more
Carol
Jun 30, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing
Bloodroot s is a gut wrenching, raw, tense, exquisite debut. Bloodroot has been compared to The Color Purple or the Glass Castle. For me, it is more like She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb. It is the kind of book you need to read yourself, not easy to explain. Tense, taut; powerful storytelling. I wanted Bloodroot to end so I could breathe but when it was over I wanted to go back, to savor, to ponder, to enjoy the richness of the whole once again.
Sara
Sep 08, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
Bloodroot is a striking piece of contrast. Somehow, it manages to be dangerously dark and refreshingly light at the same time. It is a beautiful display of learning to both overcome and embrace your history. There were pages that I couldn't wait to turn...and others that I could barely bring myself to turn. I love this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Marmara 1 10 Nov 03, 2014 06:31AM  
I like this book 2 33 Aug 07, 2013 09:48AM  
Around the United...: Bloodroot by Amy Greene 1 5 Oct 27, 2011 01:55PM  
  • Cataloochee
  • My Old True Love
  • The Coal Tattoo
  • The Cove
  • Model Home
  • Kapitoil
  • Nightwoods
  • River of Earth
  • The Truest Pleasure
  • Tomato Girl
  • The Tall Woman
  • Safe from the Neighbors
  • Black Mountain Breakdown
  • The Queen of Palmyra
  • Sweeping Up Glass
  • American Music
  • The Dollmaker
1256071
Amy Greene's debut novel, BLOODROOT, was a national bestseller. Her second novel, LONG MAN, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on February 25, 2014.
More about Amy Greene...

Share This Book



“It's not forgetting that heals. It's remembering.” 121 likes
More quotes…