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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  8,000 ratings  ·  1,489 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 incendiar
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  8,000 ratings  ·  1,489 reviews

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May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2011 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
5 stars.
It says something significant about this novel when I simply ignored time and gave myself to the story, reading it from beginning to end in a single mesmerized, urgent stretch.

I snuggled into Amy Greene's gloriously descriptive prose, feeling instantly comfortable with the narrator grandmother Byrdie and her rambling family oral history. A healer, a water diviner and a spirit traveller - Granny women with extraordinary gifts- used to help others; the spiteful great-aunt who flung a cur
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
Jun 01, 2010 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
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
Greg Zimmerman
Mar 12, 2011 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
May 27, 2010 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
Jan 27, 2010 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
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
Kelly McDonough
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
The most depressing book I have ever read. This book broke open a part of me I thought was sealed. Part of the way through Myra's chapter I had to set the book down and cried for half an hour. I have never had that happen before, I am not a crier, and have been reading voraciously for years. I don't know if I can even give this book a fair review, so I settled for 3 stars. This just hit way too close to home.

I do wish the epilogue would have been from a different perspective. The author could h
Jun 09, 2010 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.
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!!
Sep 03, 2013 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
As I read this book I said to myself "How is the author going to tie up all these loose ends?" But she did it. Amy Greene did a fine job on this, her debut novel. Each chapter is written as a specific character's POV. It jumped around between points of time but not too much to confuse me (much).

The story is about a poverty-stricken eastern Tennessee family of Scotch-Irish descent and follows them through several generations. They never really have a chance to rise due to lack of education and ec
Emily Briano
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Amy is an author from my hometown of Morristown, TN. Her book's already getting a lot of good press! I had the pleasure of meeting her at her first reading at Walters State. My friend won an ARC and I borrowed it from her.

I grew up in Morristown, TN, which sounds an awful lot like Millertown, one of the settings in this book. So as I was entered this beautifully crafted novel, I felt like I was returning home again myself. The lives of the characters are not easy, and sometimes their story is ha
May 12, 2010 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
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing

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
reading is my hustle
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
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
I may well have found my favorite book of 2010 ... or at least one of my top 5! I love, love, love this book!

First, let's do a quick overview of the book (from Goodreads) -

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 seamles
Sarah Mac
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 & overpowering apo
Jan 18, 2010 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.
Feb 08, 2010 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
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
Dec 02, 2009 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
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
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.
Jul 06, 2009 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. ...more
Sep 08, 2009 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. ...more
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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

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There are those in my own family who were rumored to have the touch, like my great-aunt who removed warts by rubbing stones in a circle around each...
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“It's not forgetting that heals. It's remembering.” 143 likes
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