Winter’s Bone–Daniel Woodrell

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Many of you have probably seen the movie that they made of this book, but there might be a few of you out there that, like me, are so far behind on movies that there’s no hope of ever being current. It’s ok. There are more things in life than being current on movies and TV shows.

This is an incredibly sad book.

The main character is Ree, who is a 16 year old school dropout, tasked with keeping her family alive and functioning. They live in the rural Ozark valley, and her mom is drugged senseless for her mental health issues. Her dad, who participates in the local common trade of meth manufacturing, is often gone. It’s on her to keep the younger kids alive and in school.

Her dad is currently gone again, awaiting a court date on a meth manufacturing charge. The sheriff comes to warn her that he put the house and land up to secure the bond, and if he doesn’t show they’ll be homeless.

She doesn’t trust him to show–understandably, since he’s clearly a flake–and goes looking for him.

I live in a warm climate, but the imagery for the cold that she suffers made me shiver. Her hood freezes into a sheet of ice at one point. I can’t fathom that kind of cold. Terrible and scary.

As it turns out, her neighbors (who are either part of her extended family or rival families) are dangerous people as well. She begins to suspect her dad has been killed, but that’s not her biggest problem. Her biggest problem isn’t to mourn, but to prove he’s dead so they don’t lose the house.

This is a beautiful, haunting book. Sad, of course, but beautiful.

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