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The Death of Sweet Mister
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Group Reads: Post-1990 > The Death of Sweet Mister, August 2016, Initial Impressions

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here is the discussion topic to kick off your impressions of The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell. Please do join in and give us your thoughts. No spoilers, please!


message 2: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
I'm starting this one tonight. Wish me luck! I hear it's a humdinger!


message 3: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "I'm starting this one tonight. Wish me luck! I hear it's a humdinger!"

I can hardly wait to hear your reaction to this one. It IS a humdinger. *GRIN*


Jeffrey (jwhitsitt) | 18 comments I envy you. Finished several weeks ago. It is one of my 2016 favorites.

Look forward to discussion.


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
About 1/3 in. So far, it's one of the saddest things I've ever read.


message 6: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments Looking forward to the discussion !


Franky | 340 comments Diane, it definitely is bleak, and a bit disturbing.


message 8: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
Finally, something good happened, sort of. The real discussion will have to be on the final impressions thread, impossible to discuss this without spoilers!


Nancy Cook | 1 comments One of the best saddest books I've read all summer./ Thank you Lawyer for your suggestions!


Belinda Guerette | 27 comments On page 27. I'm liking it so far. Such vivid, real characters!


PorshaJo | 4 comments I decided to jump into this months read. I'm almost done with this one and I'm shocked how much I'm liking this one.


Camie | 103 comments Getting started !!


Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 1380 comments Finished it in one sitting and sat stunned for a while. Off to comment on the final impressions thread.


Brina Wasn't going to read but based on comments here, I ordered it.


message 15: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Mathews | 2718 comments Mod
Brina wrote: "Wasn't going to read but based on comments here, I ordered it."

Good call. It's a quick read but it will stay with you for a long time.


Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 1380 comments Yes, Woodrell gets a lot said in a short time.


message 17: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
Every one of Woodrell ' s books that I've read are fairly short, but his characters are unforgettable.


Brina Looking forward, should have from library next week.


Brina Characters appear to have multi-layered emotional issues.


message 20: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
That is an understatement, to say the least!


Brina Uh, yeah. I'm only able to read in small doses because Shug and Glenda getting me aggravated. Should be able to finish tomorrow.


Doug H I finished yesterday. Usually I only get in an hour or so of reading per day, but I read this one in 2 days. I actually shirked work for it. Hung out in the shadows for hours with my fix. Will write a review when I finish going through withdrawal.

Very dark stuff, but marbled throughout with humor too. Oh, Granny! Lol


message 23: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) Doug wrote: "I finished yesterday. Usually I only get in an hour or so of reading per day, but I read this one in 2 days. I actually shirked work for it. Hung out in the shadows for hours with my fix. Will writ..."

I'm adding a new shelf title: worth-work-shirking


message 24: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
Withdrawal is an appropriate response on finishing this one. Why is it that every time I finish a Woodrell book I renew my vow to never, ever, ever go anywhere near Arkansas and the Ozarks?


message 25: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments I am afraid I am in the minority with this one

My mother always said ," if you don't have anything nice to say don t say anything "! So mum s the word ;)


Brina Jane you're not. I've read 1/3 and I'll finish for posterity but it's not enjoyable so far.


message 27: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments I will say that his prose has class and so happy I am not alone ;)


Brina Well written with unlikeable characters. I've been reading in small doses and will somehow finish today or tomorrow.


message 29: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments Well written with a sorry theme (oops )


Brina ;)


Karen | 28 comments I have this to read but got behind with Net Galley deadlines. Will begin soon


Brina Karen, you didn't need me to find the grou, yay!! Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on this one.


LA Cantrell | 1322 comments Starting tonight after having been hijacked into reading TWO teen books with my kid. My last Daniel Woodrell really disappointed me (Give Us a Kiss), but having been over the moon for Tomato Red, Woe to Live On, Winter's Bone... and pretty happy with Maid's Tale.. Im hoping this is his usual excellence.

Too skeered to read y'all's comments this soon, but will check back tomorrow night. Bad flooding here in South Louisiana (we are fine), so Ive also been glued to the local news.


Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 1380 comments I have been watching the flooding in Louisiana, LeAnne. Glad you are OK. You guys seem to get more than your share. Over 7000 rescued from the waters. Took me back to thinking about Rivers


message 35: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - added it

Diane Barnes | 4349 comments Mod
LeAnne, with the main character here being a 13 year old boy, I'm undecided what your opinion will be. No bets here.


LA Cantrell | 1322 comments Sara wrote: "I have been watching the flooding in Louisiana, LeAnne. Glad you are OK. You guys seem to get more than your share. Over 7000 rescued from the waters. Took me back to thinking about Rivers! What is odd is that his new book starts out on Interstate 55 - which is the highway that is the title of his new book Desperation Road . It is BUCKLED and collapsed - was just about to send him a photo via FB.


LA Cantrell | 1322 comments Diane wrote: "LeAnne, with the main character here being a 13 year old boy, I'm undecided what your opinion will be. No bets here."

Well, I only got to page 27 last night and as y'all have already seen, its going to require me to distance myself like we had to in A Feast of Snakes. Now raising my force-field!

What is funny is that I bought a used copy of this back when we voted it in, and now that its been in my hands, I see that it came from the UK (price on it is in pounds sterling), and there is a review written in London stuck in as a book mark. Even more unusual is that it is an advance reading copy. I've already found a grammatical error (or maybe a faulty cut-n-paste boo boo?), so this will be extra strange.


message 38: by Connie (new) - added it

Connie G (connie_g) | 487 comments Sending good thoughts your way, LeAnne, and hoping your family stays safe during the heavy flooding.


message 39: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments Leanne yes was thinking about you too


message 40: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 252 comments Leanne ~ you have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly in hopes you are safe and the coast there is not going to be like another Rivers ! Oh! How I loved that book and I can't wait for his next . Thanks to you we had such an overly enjoyable read ! I do love New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast . During my time in college I had a dear best friend that live in Long Beach, MS . We were back and forth and have wonderful memories of times from Biloxi to New Orleans every year . Upon graduation she worked on her Masters at Southern and I taught and continued my MFA at Ole Miss -- then Katrina happened and I have not found her since . It worries me quite often . They lived very close to the water and I can't remember her Daddy's name because I am sure she is married by now.

Anyway , glad you are well . I have a thing about reading books in order of series and so I quickly read Give us a Kiss first and so on until Woodrell's The Death of Sweet Mister . This is called his Ozark Triolgy . I like the way he sandbags his characters too! Larry Brown called it sandbagging . Layering them with conflicts and troubles until you think they will break or even have a deviant mental break ! Then they are set down into an impossible environment to operate in with the circumstances .

The settings are a big part of the problems with the developments in the characters's developments. The two are inseparable but depending on the way they are raised or simply temperament by fate and circumstances . You Woodrell's people are so real and unique to his region and setting . They are so 3-dimensional you can't help but feel the sense of realism which adds to the love or lack of stomach for his type of realistic flare . I happened to be hooked ! HA! I start Death of Sweet Mister today ! I am behind , I know ! But I have had a stupid stye in my eye that has kept me from a week of reading ! It is still not quite well but I take breaks ! HA! It has been a pain being a pirate ! I need to do so much to catch up , so please do not think I have deserted our group . I really need you all in my life more than you all know ! Yes, you are my therapy and my sanity and please bear with me . I am not my usual self . I feel the stress and anxiety of care taking a parent with cancer and another with serious disabilities. It should not be an excuse to neglect friends and responsibilities. Forgive me and know I will try to do better. For those I have not met yet , I will write a group note in the welcome section and introduce myself soon. I have been with this group since almost the beginning. We have grown and always gotten better . Thank you , Leanne and everyone else for being caring , kind and patient with me ... Always , Dawn


message 41: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 753 comments Ah,Dawn thank you thank you for a wonderful post


LA Cantrell | 1322 comments Connie, Jane, and darling Dawn - I so appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers. The line of demarcation between intense flooding and my own little community on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain - which is soggy, but without flooding so far is like the lip of a bathtub.

Four years ago, a puny little Cat 1 hurricane called Isaac sat on top of us dumping rain and pushing the lake up into our rivers for days on end. The home we are in now was occupied by the original owners, and the water was so high over the 4 foot tall fence out back that a massive alligator swam into the middle of the yard and stayed here. The water was to mid-thigh on the first floor.

Needless to say, we have been antsy!

But back to Sweet Mister... My goodness, this is gorgeous and brutal and hard to read! I love it so far. Woodrell has made Glenda mildly forgivable (so far) by her regular encouragements to Shug, by insisting SHE go get the ice after the latest bout of the two of them being beaten up by Red, by her attempts to draw Red's anger away from her boy, and even by cutting the crusts off of his sandwich. Red has finally shown a splinter of goodness in his attitude toward his brother - even if the kindness is embellishing the looks and the breasts of the drunken woman he said the injured Carl up with the night before.

The scenes where the boy is going into the homes of the sick people? Outstanding.

And did anybody else who has read Tomato Red catch the quick reference to Venus Holler when they were going home from there blackberry picking? Dawn, is that part of the trilogy?


Sara (taking a break) (phantomswife) | 1380 comments Dawn, I haven't been in the group very long, but it is a haven of special people--and I can see that you number among them. So, hello, and take care.


Brina Leanne, we are getting the remnants of your storm here in Ohio. Glad to hear that your house is safe for now. Love your take on the book. Really I do. I was probably the only one to absolutely detest this book but after reading Dawn's comments and yours, I see that this is last in a trilogy. Perhaps if I had read those first, I would have had a different opinion on Sweet Mister. Or maybe not. Waiting for everyone's reviews.


Doug H I thought the three in the Ozark trilogy were Tomato Red, The Death of Sweet Mister and Winter's Bone. No?


Doug H LeAnne, best wishes to y'all and all y'alls down there. This is actually the reason I didn't read Rivers. Climate change is very real, despite what the Republican party rep's like to pretend. Ask any of us who live along rivers. Living right on the very bank of the Delaware river , I get enough excitement from the now regular flooding that was once a 50 year cycle before a few years ago.


message 47: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 252 comments Leanne - I believe the Trilogy is Give us a Kiss , Tomato Red , then The Death of Sweet Mister and yes , somewhere in there we meet the Dolly's to go into Winter's Bone ! Winter's Bone is definitely my favorite so far but I am it is close to Tomato Red !

Love to read in a series ! It shows the author's progression in style and perfection and sometimes change is not what you like . I really loved John Grisham's A Time To Kill , his very first novel , but did not care so much for his biggie The Firm . I did like his The Chamber and The Rainmaker and some of the other earlier novels . Then he grew tired and formulated . I liked his experiment with A Painted House . You see , writers have to have room to breathe and experiment is how I see it. So the trilogies are promises to carry on with those characters and settings I just can't let go of that easy . Those characters are like ghosts that haunt me .

In Rivers , Cohen is haunting me to death . In David Joy's Where Light Tends To Go , I can't let go of Jacob . There are so many characters I cannot believe I have mourned and there will be no sequels . Hey , at least they did not kill off the young Dolly girl ! She was tough ! I still have high hopes for the family tree of characters set up in Bull Mountain by Brian Panovich ! He set that book up for all trails past or present to be answered ! I love an author to leave me with questions and endings . That is a good book . You ponder , wonder and wander until you search for similar books and authors and finally that author returns .

Ain't life grand ... Dawn


Brina Dawn- The Bottoms, Rivers, Bull Mountain, and Where Light Tends To Go where all recommended to me literally in the past two weeks. I have no idea what to read first. I agree about Grisham-- loved A Time to Kill but thought most of his books were formulaic. Then I read Calico Joe and was pleasantly surprised. Looking forward to reading A Painted House. Y'all give such amazing book recs.


message 49: by Guy (new)

Guy Austin | 24 comments Any time I have asked someone there suggestion from a few titles and Rivers is in it I get a enthusiast, Rivers! In reply. It is definitely moving up my list.


Doug H I totally get the Rivers excitement btw. It's just a logistics thing for me. I suppose if I lived in poverty amongst meth-heads or had less than decent parents in my life, I'd have hated The Death of Sweet Mister instead of loved it.


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