Trudi's Reviews > Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
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I've put off writing a review for this book because I always struggle with the great ones and Woodrell's Winter's Bone is one of those (with a capital G). It's craft and heart and drama and beauty. It's poetry and grit, entangled in an embrace of love and hatred.

Woodrell offers up a stinging portrait of impoverished life in the Ozarks, where kin saves as often as it condemns. The hill people of Ree's world live by their own laws separate from that of the state -- of paramount importance, don't be a snitch and mind your own business. Bad things happen to anyone who talks too much or asks too many questions. Unfortunately, sixteen year old Ree has a lot of questions that need answering with only her to ask them. Left on her own to protect a shattered mother and two helpless kid brothers, Ree is desperate to uncover the whereabouts of her meth-making father. She must venture into the cold and ice and pass over hostile thresholds where she is neither invited nor wanted.

Ree’s fierceness and courage stole my heart. She ranks as one of my favorite literary characters OF ALL TIME. Her stubbornness and smart mouth made me smile as much as it made me fear for her safety. Ree has her own set of rules to live by that include, stepping in to do for her brothers where her parents have failed and “Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered.” Ree is an old soul, mature beyond her years, forced to grow up fast and smart in a world that has teeth and a taste for blood.

This is a harsh story, one where the author pulls no punches. Woodrell is not out to romanticize this hill life or the hardscrabble characters living it. He wants us to see the ugly, to feel it in our bones, but for all of that there is tremendous beauty here as well, not just in the prose that SINGS but in the simplicity of a proud people who do what they must to survive in an environment that does not forgive weakness or stupidity lightly.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I am also going to recommend Kemper’s review here, because he does such a wonderful job capturing the book’s honesty and intensity. If I haven’t convinced you to read Winter’s Bone, he will.

***A note on the audio version: Outstanding! Emma Galvin captures Ree’s strength and vulnerability perfectly. Woodrell’s prose is so gorgeous it soars when read aloud.
Love and hate hold hands always so it made natural sense that they'd get confused by upset married folk in the wee hours once in a while and a nosebleed or bruised breast might result. But it just seemed proof that a great foulness was afoot in the world when a no-strings roll in the hay with a stranger led to chipped teeth or cigarette burns on the wrist. `Winter's Bone

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Reading Progress

35.0% "Alright Mr. Woodrell, you finally have my undivided attention. Please be gentle."
03/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11)

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Daniel Woodrell writes the good shit!

Trudi I am loving this as an audio ... the prose is GORGEOUS!

Kemper Thanks for the shout out!

James Thane Nice review, Trudi. I like Woodrell's books a lot as well.

Trudi Thanks! I can't wait to try some other things by Woodrell.

Kathryn Going to read this now! SO excited. I loved the movie.

Trudi Kathryn wrote: "Going to read this now! SO excited. I loved the movie."

I don't want to jinx it Kathryn, but I think you will love this :)

Kathryn So far, I do! I had to do some stuff, so I had I to put it down. I definitely didn't want to. Don't be surprised if I finish it tomorrow. :)

Jason Great book!

Trudi Jason wrote: "Great book!"

I listened to this one Jason. It's an exceptional audiobook. The reader is the perfect voice for Ree, and well, Woodrell's prose read aloud makes me weak in the knees.

Jason Great prose, great characters, great imagery.

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