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Winter's Bone

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  23,457 Ratings  ·  3,126 Reviews
Book by Daniel Woodrell
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published 2006 by Sceptre
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Barbara Ruth I also tracked down the book after having loved the movie. I may love them equally. Yes, the book is slightly different, and more detailed in that you…moreI also tracked down the book after having loved the movie. I may love them equally. Yes, the book is slightly different, and more detailed in that you get deeper into the heads of the characters and some of the motivations that aren't quite as clear from watching the film become clearer when you read the background (why the neighbors are willing to take one child but not the other for instance). I can't recommend the book enough.(less)
Ian No pertenece al género Country Noir pero puede que le guste Snow Falling on Cedars, un libro muy interesante entre otras cosas por su relevancia a…moreNo pertenece al género Country Noir pero puede que le guste Snow Falling on Cedars, un libro muy interesante entre otras cosas por su relevancia a temas actuales.(less)
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Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: table, favorites, grit-lit

this is pretty much why i read, to find a book like this amongst all the three-star so-so's. and it wasn't love at first sight (which might make the experience even better; i didn't love winesberg, ohio right out of the gate either) - i had some reservations from the first page, when the poetic quality of the language seemed forced and i wasn't going to deal with 200 pages of:
"three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside...", or "Ree, brunette and sixteen, with milk
Reading this book made me realize how FRIGGIN' SHELTERED my life has been. To me, Winter's Bone reads just like a nightmarish dystopia. To millions of people, apparently, it's life.

Ree Dolly is incredibly tough and hardened by life - much more than you'd expect from a sixteen-year-old girl.
"She could be beat with a garden rake and never cry and had proved that twice before Mamaw saw an unsmiling angel pointing from the treetops at dusk and quit the bottle. She would never cry where her tears
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This short novel has many things I enjoy in dark fiction – quirky, dysfunctional characters, a determined heroine struggling to survive and keep her family together, a bleak setting, a sense of hopelessness, people who pay the price for their bad choices. This is a quiet story that crept up on me slowly and haunted me for days afterward.

Actually, it terrified me and made me glad I grew up in New York City. Sure, there were shootings, muggings, carjackings, and stabbing
Bill  Kerwin
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In this crime thriller set in the Ozarks, 16-year-old Ree Dolly goes on a manhunt to locate her meth-cooking father, dead or alive. She needs to find him because he put their house up for collateral with the bailbondsmen, and he's due in court soon.

The Ozark atmosphere is convincing, Woodrell's prose is spare and poetic, and--most important of all--Ree Dolly is a great person to get to know. (I half hope--and half dread--that this may be the first in a series. I want to hear more of Ree, but I
Joe Valdez
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
My introduction to the fiction of Daniel Woodrell is Winter's Bone, and what a strong introduction. Published in 2006, it logs somewhere between a novella and short novel at only 45,883 words, but the remnants left behind conjure such a strong sense of environment and of a gritty female protagonist struggling to survive in that environment that I felt like I'd walked a mile in her shoes, in the snow, trucking water pails, both ways. The literary ambitions of the novel are impossible to tamper do ...more
I grew up in a rural area with no shortage of poor rednecks so I thought I knew about country poverty, but the people I knew with their decayed farm houses and trailers lived like Donald Trump compared to the backwoods clan of hill folk in this book.

Ree Dolly is a 16-year old girl who dropped out of high school to take care of her crazy mother and two younger brothers. She lives in a remote part of the Ozarks where the only job opportunities are in crystal meth production. Ree plans on joining t
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2012, reviewed
It’s funny how my brain works. So this novel is about a strong teenage girl living in conditions of depressing destitution without a father, caring for her sibling(s) and her invalid mother, cooking for them, bathing them, getting them ready for school, and generally assuming a responsibility that far exceeds her years—she even hunts squirrel! Any of this sound familiar? Maybe I’m not the only one who was reminded of Katniss Everdeen, but what’s interesting is that both Everdeen and Ree Dolly, t ...more
Dan Schwent
Ree Dolly's father has jumped bail, leaving their home forfeit unless Ree can find him before his court date. Will she be able to find her father before she ends up homeless with her two brothers and insane mother?

First off, I have a confession to make. I live in rural Missouri and, therefore, some of the locations depicted in the story seem a lot like places I've driven through at a high rate of speed. Also, I've eaten squirrel on at least two occasions. Now, on to the meat of the review.

Paul Bryant
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Gets so close to a fourth star it can smell the new paint job. In fact the plot is totally 5 star – the motivations and machinations of all the characters make complete sense and are a real heartbreaker. The main character, 16 year old Ree Dolly, is great. In the movie, which I came across all of 4 years ago, she’s played by none other than Jennifer Lawrence in her first big role, and the movie and Jennifer both knocked me flat on my back then. It’s a must see. If any book was filmed exactly rig ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blood is thicker than water.

This book turned out way better than it started. I was going to rate it a 2 and then it turned around and picked up. A story of survival and family. A story about one girl's determination to find her father and clear her name so she could raise her brothers.

Not too shabby. A bit like Ma and Pa Kettle meets Deliverance if you catch my drift....
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Well, I'm an idiot (pretend this is news, please). I dismissed this book out of hand for years because I had a bunch of weird assumptions about it, none of which were based in anything even resembling reality, or the very encouraging reviews of it I actually did read several years ago. Even despite being told otherwise on multiple occasions, I sorta-thought 1) it was a Young Adult novel, 2) full of cheap emotional ploys, 3) like maybe a teen version of The Lovely Bones only because there's also ...more
Winter's Bone: Daniel Woodrell's Tale of When Blood is thicker than water

When I was a boy we had no Interstates. The car was not air-conditioned. A trip from Tuscaloosa to North Alabama was a twisting, turning drive through mountains and steep valleys as you drove into the northern part of the County. We traveled early to avoid the afternoon heat. The mists rose up from the valleys making the mountains look as though they grew out of clouds. My grandfather would comment on the smell of the worki
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Beautifully written, this is a simple story about survival, winter and bones. The main thing to survive is poverty - the kind where buttonless overcoats are de rigueur, and hunting and skinning squirrels is not done strictly for entertainment. It's in the Ozarks and winter is bone-cracking cold. We open the book to a hint of flurries, and venison hanging in trees to "sweeten that meat to the bone", and we meet Ree Dolly, our tough teen heroine.

The title "Winter's Bone" for me summoned a cold, t
D. Pow
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, O Man, can this guy write. This is a very impressive novel. Here is language that soars, home-spun lyricisms, trailer-trash poetry, a book chock-full of crackhead sonnet riffs; Woodrell is a virtuoso of the first degree.

In Ree Dolly, the teenage protagonist he has conjured up, he has invented somebody you'll remember gladly until your dying days. Fiercely courageous with a keen eye for the moral effrontery foisted on her small shoulders by kin close and distant, she is feisty as a stirred-
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I read Winter's Bone on D and Karen's recommendations, so I’m posting links to their reviews before I start:


Winter’s Bone is a hell of a book in that A) the novel is fantastic, and B) it's set in an American version of hell. The story of Ree, a teenage girl charged with finding her bail-jumping father in order to save her family’s house, catches fire early and never cools down. Ree lives in a terrifying sectio
This novella is a gem. It's tough yet emotional, scary yet empowering, stark and yet beautiful.

I have been meaning to read Winter's Bone for several years, but I kept putting it off because I thought it would be depressing. And while the story is bleak, it is so gorgeously written that I got lost in the prose.

The book is set in an impoverished region in southern Missouri called the Ozarks, where making meth is a popular way of earning a living. But 17-year-old Ree Dolly hopes to escape to the A
Anthony Vacca
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part, I am perfectly content to read books littered with despicable exemplars of our wonderful species. Give me your moral degenerates, your psychopathic wives, your misogynistic husbands, your bloodthirsty children, your lechers, repeat killers, serial adulterers, conmen, thieves, necrophiliacs, Christians—give me every last bit of your human refuge because I will gladly read about them over honest, good, hardworking men and women any day of the week. Why? Because good people are b ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
A few authors over the course of the past few years have recently stood out above the normal, literary crowd—for me, anyways. And the thing I noticed about these authors is that they all seem to write darker fiction. If I had to say, a good representation of these authors is: Roberto Bolano, Cormac McCarthy, Castle Freeman, Jr., and now, Daniel Woodrell.

These authors make up a class of writers that I have termed Brutal Poets. Their use of language invokes a visceral response from the reader, so
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
Feb 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: trilobites
Shelves: to-be-burned, fiction
Horrendous, goopy, writers' workshop writing.

"Moons of ache glowed in spaces of her meat and when she moved the moons banged together and stunned." (Are sentences required to make sense in "contemporary fiction?")

"Moans droned from her chest of bones. Shit leaked from her panties and she felt runnels of yuck on her thighs." Channeling Dr. Seuss and Cormac McCarthy simultaneously: ambitious!

"She thrust her head into the cold and broadcast the hot mush of old swallowed food toward the snowbanks."
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Icy, dark, beautiful, and brutal. Ive rarely hurt for and hoped for a character as much as I did Ree. Sweet Pea, for all time.

The main character here is written as tough and tender and backed into a hard place, and it is terrific to see a strong female protagonist in a work of Southern grit lit. Ree is a bright teen living in poverty but who sees a sensible way out of the awful lifestyle that her parents have accepted.

As her plans start to gel, a family emergency pops up, and there are no adul

Today my therapist and I had an hour-long discussion about Self Talk.

Now, most of you born before 1980 will most likely think of this when I say Self Talk. That’s fine. That’s where I went too. You see, I’m in this stage that I call ‘the flattening’—not sure if that’s a clinical term or not but yeah, I’m also calling it ‘blah’ or ‘ennui’ or ‘fuck this, I need a nap.’ Nothing excites nor upsets me. Nothing is beautiful nor is it fugly. Everything is just… there.

Thus, I began Winter’s Bone. I re
3 – 3.5 stars

I think I may have come to this book with excessive expectations given the consistently high ratings and voluminous praise in GR friends’ reviews. That’s not to say that this was a bad book, or that I didn’t enjoy it, but for me this book didn’t hit the sweet spot that it seemed to reach for most others.

Ree Dolly is a tough-as-nails adolescent living a hand-to-mouth existence in perhaps the worst possible conditions in the backwoods of the Ozarks, forced to care for her two younger
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Annie Proulx ("Brokeback Mountain")
A perfect, ice-cold winter read that burns like frostbite, but in a pleasant way.

In this thriller set in the harsh Ozark Mountains, 17-year-old Ree Dolly is determined to find her father. Deadbeat dad and meth-cooker Jessup Dolly didn’t show up for court, and since he put up their house for collateral with the bailbondsmen, chances are high that the family gets kicked out by the end of the month. Bearing responsibility for her two younger brothers and her mentally unstable mother, Ree starts as
I don't know -- is it me? People seemed to really like this book, according to goodreads and Amazon reviews, but I just couldn't get into it. It seemed like your typical Oprah book; I felt like I was reading "Cold Mountain," "Peace Like a River," and several others blurred into one indistinguishable mass. Everyone raved about the heroine, Ree Dolly, who felt like a cliche to me and a pretty one-dimensional one at that -- young, tough, heroic hick-town girl, like Renee Zellweger's character in "C ...more
James Thane
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly lives for the day when she will be old enough to join the Army and escape the grinding economic and intellectual poverty of her life in the Missouri Ozarks where her extended family lives by a variety of illegal pursuits, mostly involving the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamines and crank cocaine. But Ree's dreams are shattered when her father, a celebrated meth chef, disappears, leaving Ree nearly penniless and responsible for her two younger brothers and ...more
Daniel Woorell has written a gothic, atmospheric book set in the Ozark Mountains. A sixteen-year-old girl should not have to shoulder the weight of caring for her family, but Ree Dolly's medicated mother is in another world and her father has skipped bail. The family will lose their home if he's not found, either dead or alive. Ree's father was one of the best crank chefs in the Dolly clan, and he was facing ten years in prison.

Ree can be tough when it's needed, but she also exhibits a tender si
“Ree Dolly stood at the break of day on her cold front steps and smelled coming flurries and saw meat. Meat hung from trees across the creek. Carcasses hung pale of flesh with 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, sweet
Daniel Woodrell has gathered much praise from my fellow Goodreaders and the whole community, along with professional reviewers who compared his novels to the work of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. Winter's Bone is his most famous novel which also has been turned into a succesful motion picture.

Woodrell coined the term "country noir" to describe one of his novels, and it fits Winter's Bone perfectly as well. Ree Dolly is just sixteen and lives in the isolated backwoods of the Missouri Oza
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On Sunday I flew from Salt Lake to Memphis, and looked down on the country of Winter's Bone--northern Arkansas. There are a few places in this country, thank God, that scare me more than inner cities like Detroit, East LA, Harlem, and the south side of Chicago. Those are the parts of the country down to which federal money never seems to trickle, swamps of Louisiana, East Kentucky, most of West Virginia, and, yes, northern Arkansas. Why are these places scarier than ghettos? Because they're expa ...more
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More about Daniel Woodrell...
“Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered.” 123 likes
“The heart's in it then, spinning dreams, and torment is on the way. The heart makes dreams seem like ideas.” 50 likes
More quotes…